Joy Bishop receives Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy

Pellissippi State Foundation Board Member Receiving TBR's Chancellor's Award
(L-R) Ginger Hausser, TBR associate vice president for Institutional Advancement, Joy Bishop, Regent Danni Varlan, PSCC President L. Anthony Wise

 

The Tennessee Board of Regents has presented the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy to Maryville’s Joy Bishop in recognition of her support of Pellissippi State Community College.

The award is part of TBR’s Excellence in Philanthropy Awards recognition program that began in 2003 to recognize individuals, companies and organizations who donate their resources, finances and personal time to TBR institutions. TBR is the governing body for Tennessee’s 13 community colleges and 27 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology.

“I am honored to receive this award. I believe in the community college concept, and I particularly support Pellissippi State and its Blount County Campus. Dr. Wise, the faculty and the staff at Pellissippi State have added a great deal to all five of their campuses. I’m just so proud to be a member of the Pellissippi State Foundation Board of Trustees,” Bishop said.

Bishop has been a long-time supporter of Pellissippi State. She provided leadership in two of Pellissippi State’s major gift campaigns, which have resulted in the establishment and the expansion of the college’s Blount County Campus.

“Joy’s financial commitment to the college is just the tip of the iceberg in measuring her impact. She is a natural-born fundraiser who is not shy about asking others to support our institution,” said L. Anthony Wise, president of Pellissippi State.”

Most notably, she also was instrumental in the development and implementation of the Leg-Up Child Care Assistance Program, a program that provides free child care to a number of qualified Pellissippi State students who are single parents. The program is a partnership between the Tennessee Department of Human Services, Pellissippi State and state-licensed child care centers in East Tennessee.

Program participants must be enrolled in a minimum of six credit-hours, have a 2.0 or better grade-point-average and be working toward a certificate or associate degree program. Leg-Up pays the full cost of weekly child care, after-school costs, registration fees and various activity charges for children between six-weeks-old and age 13.

The financial burden on single parent-students to provide child care while they work, attend school, and take care of their children, is a major factor in determining whether a student will successfully complete college. The annual cost of providing one child with year-round care can exceed $10,000 a year, and many of Pellissippi State’s student-parents have more than one child. Students participating in Leg-Up have shown improved class attendance, better grades and a lower dropout rate.

Bishop says the inspiration for the Leg-Up Program began on a 12-hour plane flight to Southeast Asia with friend Carolyn Forster. The women were on a trip to Vietnam and had a lot of time to think and talk about ways to help the students at Pellissippi State.

“We realized that the cost of child care was a real problem, especially for single parents,” said Bishop. “So we said, ‘We can do something about that,’ and we came up with a plan. We would get the business community to support us, and we would select only highly-motivated students and provide them with mentors in addition to the child care.”

Bishop formed a committee, which included Holly Burkett, the dean of Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus, did some research on the cost of day care, and wrote out a plan to take to the state.

“Dr. Wise and I went to see the DHS commissioner. [Former] State Senator Doug Overbey [Maryville] met us at the commissioner’s office. Commissioner Hatter was aware of how much child care was a barrier to some students. She was impressed someone was working to do something to keep single parents in school and approved the plan,” Bishop said.

Bishop is quick to share the credit for the success of Leg-Up with her fellow committee members: Marty Black, Jim Proffitt, Carolyn Forster, Ellie Morrow, Gaynelle Lawson, Steve West, Mark Johnson, Greg McLean, Tammi Ford, Tom Bogart, Pam Wolf and Holly Burkett.

In September 2016, Pellissippi State hired Le’John Ellis to manage the program, which has grown steadily and, now, provides quality child care free of charge for 39 student-parents with 60 children in Knox and Blount counties.

“I think Le’John fell from heaven,” Bishop said. “Everyone needs someone to give them a leg up once in their lives. I’m so proud of Leg-Up. It’s perfect, just perfect.”

Bishop, a native of Texas, graduated from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Federal Executive Institute. She spent 30 years in the U.S. Air Force as a civilian and was the first woman to receive an appointment to the Senior Executive Service. Bishop retired in 1990 as one of the highest ranking civilians in the Air Force and put her roots down in Blount County. She then started her own consulting firm, the Emerald Group, which helped underdeveloped countries. Joy serves her community as a member of Maryville Church of Christ, Blount Partnership, Maryville Kiwanis Club, Blount County Library, Maryville College Advisory Board, Clayton-Bradley Academy and Clayton Center for the Arts.

“Joy’s work in the community and with Pellissippi State is transformative. When it comes to volunteering, Joy brings plenty of passion and positivity to the table. Her creativity, motivation and vision inspires all that engage with her. It is an honor to nominate Joy Bishop for the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy,” Wise said.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

Pellissippi State hosts Bob Booker for African American Read-In Week

Pellissippi State Community College will celebrate African American literature during a read-in week Feb. 12-16 at each of its campuses.

Local historian Robert J. “Bob” Booker will discuss the history of the Civil Rights Movement in Knoxville during a special presentation at 6:30 p.m., Feb. 15, in the Magnolia Avenue Campus community room. The presentation is free to attend and open to the community.

Booker is a prominent Civil Rights activist who organized downtown Knoxville sit-ins as a student. He was the first African American elected to the Tennessee state legislature from Knoxville in the twentieth century and was instrumental in establishing the Beck Cultural Center. He is currently a Knoxville News Sentinel columnist and the author of the recently-published “An Encyclopedia: Experiences of Black People in Knoxville, Tennessee 1844-1974.”

At all five Pellissippi State campuses, students and employees will share their favorite texts by African American authors during read-ins — essentially a collection of marathon reading events:

  • Blount County Campus — 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Feb. 14, lobby
  • Division Street Campus — 9:40 a.m.-5 p.m., Feb. 15, lobby
  • Hardin Valley Campus — 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Feb. 16, Goins Building rotunda
  • Magnolia Avenue Campus — 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Feb. 12, lobby
  • Strawberry Plains Campus — 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Feb. 13, lobby

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability at one of these events, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

Reconnect Now at Pellissippi State allows spouses a path to better selves

Melody and Thomas Smith
Melody and Thomas Smith

In Blount County, Thomas and Melody Smith raised two children and emphasized the importance of a college education to them — although they did not have a college degree themselves.

After their children graduated, the opportunity for Thomas or Melody to enroll in college seemed like a pipe dream. They both had jobs, children and then grandchildren, and they had already worked hard to afford college for their children. It seemed that financial and time constraints would always keep them from a college degree.

Then, earlier this year, they began to see billboards for Reconnect Now at Pellissippi State Community College. Thomas and Melody jumped at the chance.

“When we heard about Reconnect Now, I researched it and told my husband that we would be crazy to pass this up,” Melody said. “It’s our chance to better ourselves as people and at our jobs.”

“We could not have afforded college for ourselves without Reconnect Now,” Thomas said.

Reconnect Now is Pellissippi State’s last-dollar scholarship that covers the cost of tuition and mandatory fees for qualified adults for the 2017-18 academic year. Participating, qualified students will roll into Tennessee Reconnect when it launches in fall 2018.

Melody, who is a receptionist at Helen Ross McNabb Center Outpatient Services, is studying Administrative Professional Technology with a Medical Office concentration. Thomas, who works for DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee, is studying Engineering Technology with a concentration in Automated Industrial Systems.

“I work at DENSO in manufacturing, and a lot of the stuff they’re doing now I am still training on. There are people on my line who do engineering work, and that’s what I’d like to do. I can learn at Pellissippi the technology skills needed to use these new machines,” Thomas said. “I’ve gone as far as I can without a degree, and I’d like to do something different.

“I wish I had come back to college sooner, though I have had a learning curve when it comes to computers and all of that. The last time I was in school, we had spiral notebooks and pencils. The teachers have been wonderful to answer questions and offer tutoring. It’s been really good,” he added.

“It has been tough sometimes to be back in school after 35 years, but it feels good; it feels like an accomplishment,” Melody said. “I think the first few weeks we were both wondering what we had gotten ourselves into! Now we’re into a routine. We know we can do it.”

Both have learned new computer skills as they progressed through their classes, and have found help through resources like tutoring and mentoring in the Educational Resources Center at Pellissippi State. They have also found support from their son and daughter — and even their grandchildren. The couple, married for 31 years, returned to school at the same time their granddaughters, both six years old, entered kindergarten and first grade.

“They were so nervous to start school, so we were able to tell them that we were starting school, too. The only difference is that we don’t take a big yellow school bus to school,” Melody said. “When they have quizzes the same week I do, they will call to ask me how I did on my test. They ask me how many answers I missed and tell me what they missed. I tell them that we can both study and work harder and do better next time.

“Our children, family and friends are so encouraging. They call to check on us, support us and ask if we need help with homework. They are very proud of us and recognize what a huge step this is for us.”

For Melody and Thomas, Reconnect Now has opened the door to a life they did not think was possible for them, though they spent years ensuring it was available for their children. They do not take the opportunity lightly.

“It feels good to take a chance. We can do this. We’re not going to give up,” Melody said.

For more information about Reconnect Now at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/reconnect or call 865-694-6400.

Pellissippi State invites Blount County community to ‘Take Back the Night’

Pellissippi State Community College invites the community to “Take Back the Night” at a rally, speak out and vigil from 5:30-8:30 p.m., Oct. 19, at the Blount County Public Library.

Take Back the Night is an international campaign to raise awareness of domestic, relationship and sexual violence. The Blount County event will feature a rally and walk that will start at the Blount County Public Library and process up and down Broadway Avenue. Also at the library, the Maryville Police Department will demonstrate safety and self-defense techniques, and community agencies will present resources for victims of domestic, relationship and sexual violence. The event’s main speaker is from the Sexual Assault Center of East Tennessee. The event is not suggested for those under age 18.

“Take Back the Night can be empowering and healing,” said Kim Thomas-LaRue, director of Student Life at Pellissippi State and planner of the event. “We hope to bring about awareness of domestic violence — and if we can help even one person, then this night will be a success.”

The Blount County Public Library is located at 508 N. Cusick Street in Maryville.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400. For more information about the Blount County Public Library, visit www.blountlibrary.org or call 865-982-0981.

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