Pellissippi State Foundation adds two new directors

Aneisa McDonald
Aneisa McDonald

Two directors have been newly recruited to work in the Pellissippi State Foundation, and both bring with them experience from state and regional school systems.

Marilyn Roddy, who has been brought on as director of major gift development, is the former director of STEMspark East Tennessee STEM Hub, a 13-county group advocating for greater use of science, technology, engineering and mathematics curricula. Roddy also served as a Knoxville City Council member for eight years.
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Aneisa McDonald, the new director of planned and annual giving, is a former health specialist for Knox County Schools and has worked for the Metropolitan Drug Commission and the Arts Council of Greater Knoxville.

Marilyn Roddy
Marilyn Roddy

“I’m pleased to have this opportunity to continue to have an impact in education,” said Roddy. “At Pellissippi State, I have the opportunity to work at the intersection of education and economic development. I have a great enthusiasm for community colleges. They are so important in preparing students and training our workforce.”

“In all my work in development,” said McDonald, “the shared experience has been in uniting people around a specific cause. I look forward to bringing those experiences to Pellissippi State.

“Everyone here is very passionate about the mission of the college and the success of the students, and I’m excited to join that mission.”

In her new position, Roddy will develop and implement major fundraising efforts for the Pellissippi State Foundation. McDonald will manage annual and planned gifts, working with internal and external audiences and Pellissippi State alumni.
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The Foundation works to provide student scholarships and emergency loans, as well as to improve facilities and secure new equipment.

“Aneisa and Marilyn bring unique experiences and backgrounds to the Foundation,” said Peggy Wilson, executive director of the Foundation and vice president of College Advancement.

“With their help, the Foundation can continue to ensure that all Pellissippi State students have the opportunity for a higher education degree at a college with state-of-the-art equipment in comfortable facilities.”

For more information, visit or call (865) 694-6528.

NASA to grant scholarships to Pellissippi State students

Enrollment in STEM—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—at community colleges across the U.S. comes up short for women and underrepresented students, but at Pellissippi State Community College, a new grant will seek to change that.

NASA has awarded $499,689 to the Tennessee Community College Space Grant Consortium, through the Tennessee Space Grant Consortium located at Vanderbilt University, as part of the NSPIRES (NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System) program. The consortium is made up of Pellissippi State and four other Tennessee Board of Regents colleges.

“Pellissippi State is a major provider of qualified engineering technicians to local manufacturers,” said Peggy Wilson, vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation. “Similarly, NASA is committed to increasing the number of students graduating with STEM degrees.
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“While women represent about 61 percent of the total enrollment in the state’s community colleges, they only account for about 11 percent of the enrollment in engineering technology programs.” Underrepresented groups make up about 13 percent of engineering technology program enrollment.

As part of the Community College Space Grant Consortium, the college plans to recruit more women and underrepresented groups into STEM-related associate’s degree and certificate programs, particularly in the areas of engineering technology and robotics.

The grant will provide $45,000 in scholarships to Pellissippi State. This is the first time that a Space Grant scholarship has been awarded to Tennessee community college students.

The grant also will help the school hire a part-time “completion coach” to provide Pellissippi State’s Engineering Technology students the support they need to graduate. The Engineering Technology program culminates in an Associate of Applied Science degree.

Additionally, it will pay for membership in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, as well as for travel to the IEEE SoutheastCon’s robotics competition and the NASA Summer Robotics Institute at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
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Other members of the consortium include Cleveland State Community College, Columbia State Community College, Northeast State Community College and Roane State Community College.

For more information on the grant or the college’s engineering technology offerings, visit or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State: Blount County adds Automated Industrial Systems courses to fall offerings

3 people standing in front of wall with 2 shaking hands
L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State Community College president, left, accepts a check from Mike Brackett, DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee’s senior vice president of corporate services and DENSO International America Inc.’s vice president of North American corporate planning and human resources, on behalf of the College and the Pellissippi State Foundation on Friday, Aug. 1. At right is Peggy Wilson, vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation.

Pellissippi State Community College will offer courses in the college’s newest Engineering Technology concentration, Automated Industrial Systems, at its Blount County Campus this fall. Registration is going on now.

Automated Industrial Systems is one of seven concentrations in the Engineering Technology associate’s degree program. AIS prepares students to operate state-of-the-art automated manufacturing equipment, including programmable controller training systems, robotics and motor training equipment. The concentration launched at the Hardin Valley Campus in 2013 through a partnership with DENSO North America Foundation.

Pellissippi State is able to purchase equipment to expand the AIS concentration to Blount County thanks to a $48,500 grant from the DENSO Foundation.

“Because of support from the DENSO North America Foundation and our partnership with DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee, we’ve often been able to keep our engineering technologies and workforce training programs on the cutting edge,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president.

The grant was awarded through the Pellissippi State Foundation. Funds will go toward the purchase of 20 soldering stations; five Allen-Bradley programmable logic controllers; and 10 National Instruments Elvis II Plus modular platforms. The platforms combine several tools, including oscilloscopes, digital multimeters and dynamic signal analyzers, into one device.

“This grant will provide a state-of-the-art environment for workforce development,” said Peggy Wilson, vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation.

“It will support the education and training needed for manufacturing in the East Tennessee region—for new technologists, company employees, and students transitioning in their careers.”

The Pellissippi State Foundation works to provide student scholarships and emergency loans, as well as to improve facilities and secure new equipment. For information about scholarships and grants offered through the Pellissippi State Foundation, visit or call (865) 694-6528.

To learn more about AIS and other Engineering Technology concentrations, visit or call (865) 694-6400.


About the DENSO North America Foundation
A registered 501(c)3 corporate foundation, The DENSO North America Foundation is dedicated to helping students advance their education in engineering, technology and other related programs. Founded in 2001, the Foundation provides grants to colleges and universities throughout North America, helping our communities prosper through the development of a skilled and knowledgeable workforce. The Foundation also provides disaster relief grants through the American Red Cross to aid persons and communities in which DENSO operates. For more information, visit

Pellissippi State dedicates Jenny and Randy Boyd Building

four people standing in front of building

In recognition of outstanding support by Randy and Jenny Boyd of higher education opportunities in this area, Pellissippi State Community College has dedicated its Strawberry Plains Campus building in the couple’s honor.

The Jenny and Randy Boyd Building was dedicated today, May 9.

“We are naming this building in recognition of Jenny and Randy Boyd for their support of Pellissippi State Community College and their dedication to increased access and opportunities for higher education in East Tennessee,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State’s president.

In 2012, the Boyds donated $1 million to the Pellissippi State Foundation toward the purchase of the Strawberry Plains Campus. The campus, which is located at 7201 Strawberry Plains Pike, began offering classes in fall 2012.

“If we fail to give our children the opportunity to get the additional education and training they will need, we have failed them,” Randy Boyd said. “Our community colleges will see the majority of the growth in degrees in the next decade, and we are proud that one of the best in the country serves our community: Pellissippi State.

“Making college convenient and accessible is critical, and this new campus at Strawberry Plains will do that for East and South Knox county and neighboring counties. We’re happy to be able to help Pellissippi State fulfill its mission and that of our state with this new campus.”

Randy Boyd was Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s special advisor for higher education in 2013. In 2009, he helped start tnAchieves, which is a last-dollar scholarship and mentoring program for college students.

He also is a proponent of the governor’s “Drive to 55” campaign. The campaign’s goal is to increase the percentage of Tennesseans with college degrees or certificates to 55 percent by 2025.

Randy Boyd is founder, chairman and CEO of Radio Systems Corporation, maker of the PetSafe and SportDOG brands. He started the Knoxville-based company in 1991.

For more information about Pellissippi State or its campuses, visit or call (865) 694-6400.

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