Pellissippi State graduate earns double degree

Fred Williams Photograph
Fred Williams, a Pellissippi State Community College graduate, earned a degree from Pellissippi State and from Austin Peay State University on the same day.

On the morning of May 6, Fred Williams rushed from his commencement ceremony at Austin Peay State University to another at Pellissippi State Community College — but his path to a degree hasn’t been quite so fast.

Williams first stepped through the doors of Pellissippi State in 1988.

He continued with school, off and on, while working full time until 2000, when he earned an associate’s degree in Electrical Engineering Technology. But Williams didn’t stop there. He stayed enrolled at Pellissippi State until 2006, when he and his wife adopted their son. He decided to take time off from school to help raise him.

“When he started going to kindergarten, I started back to school too,” Williams said. “I wanted my son to see me graduate. That’s a memory I always wanted him to have.”

Williams came back to Pellissippi State in 2010, and in 2013 entered the Austin Peay 2+2 program, which allows students to earn a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Technology at Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus.

He completed the 2+2 program this spring, earning a general associate’s degree from Pellissippi State and a Manufacturing Engineering Technology degree from Austin Peay. On May 6, Williams walked the stage at both Pellissippi State and Austin Peay’s commencements. He rushed from Clarksville to Knoxville in order to take part in both ceremonies.

“As I walked across the stage to shake Dr. Wise’s hand, I leaned in to say, ‘You know I walked the stage at Austin Peay this morning, don’t you?’” Williams said. “He got a chuckle out of that, and after the ceremony came to track me down.”

“I thought it was an accomplishment to graduate twice in one day, so I knew I wanted to be in both ceremonies,” said Williams, who is a senior electrical designer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Spallation Neutron Source.

This fall, Williams plans to return to college. He lacks only six courses to earn a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology, another 2+2 program offered by Pellissippi State and Austin Peay. He hopes the additional degrees will allow him to continue to improve and grow his career at ORNL.

“I like Pellissippi State. It’s helped me out a lot over the years.”

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

 

Download this press release: Profile Fred Williams

Pellissippi State announces Krissy DeAlejandro as Commencement speaker

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Krissy DeAlejandro
Krissy DeAlejandro

Krissy DeAlejandro has spent eight years helping open the doors of higher education to Tennessee students.

On May 6, DeAlejandro, the executive director of tnAchieves, will congratulate Pellissippi State Community College’s 2016 graduates as speaker at the college’s spring Commencement. The ceremony begins at 7 p.m. at Thompson-Boling Arena. More than 750 students will graduate this spring, and approximately 450 are expected to walk across the stage.

“As a first generation, low-income, rural college student, I will share a few lessons from my experience,” DeAlejandro said. “I want students from similar backgrounds to understand that what might seem like an adversity is really an opportunity. I truly believe that higher education changes life trajectories. It certainly changed my life.”

In her position with tnAchieves, DeAlejandro oversees the Tennessee Promise last-dollar scholarship in 54 counties. DeAlejandro has a long history with Pellissippi State — from once serving as an adjunct faculty member to helping launch knoxAchieves, a precursor to tnAchieves, in 2008.

“I’ve had a long and very supportive relationship with Pellissippi State throughout the tnAchieves journey,” DeAlejandro said. “tnAchieves has been sending students to Pellissippi State since 2009, so I’m excited that many of our students will be in the audience graduating this year.”

 “Krissy has been a great partner to Pellissippi State in rolling out the knoxAchieves, tnAchieves and Tennessee Promise access programs,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “I admire her passion for students across our state in encouraging them to take advantage of higher education opportunities.”

To request accommodations for a disability at this event, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at 865-539-7401 or accommodations@pstcc.edu. For more information, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

 

Download this press release: DeAlejandro PSCC Commencement Speaker

Project GRAD executive director to speak at Pellissippi State’s Commencement

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Vrondelia-ChandlerProject GRAD Knoxville’s executive director, Vrondelia “Ronni” Chandler, is the keynote speaker at Pellissippi State Community College’s Spring Commencement ceremony Saturday, May 9.

Commencement begins at 4 p.m. and takes place at the University of Tennessee’s Thompson-Boling Arena. More than 500 students will walk across the stage.

Chandler is both a former employee and an alumna of Pellissippi State. She began working at the college in 1978, just four years after the institution opened its doors at the Division Street Campus. She earned a General Technology/Interdisciplinary degree from Pellissippi State in 1994, then went on to earn a bachelor’s from Tusculum College.

Chandler has worked at Project GRAD Knoxville since 2001, serving first as a program director and now as executive director. Project GRAD Knoxville provides support for students and families, many of them from low-income areas, in 14 Heart of Knoxville schools and 80 higher education institutions. The group’s mission is to positively impact generational change through education.

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

Gov. Bill Haslam to speak at Pellissippi State Commencement

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Portrait of male in suitGov. Bill Haslam is the keynote speaker at Pellissippi State Community College’s Spring Commencement ceremony Saturday, May 10.

Spring Commencement begins at 7 p.m. at the University of Tennessee’s Thompson-Boling Arena. More than 500 students will walk across the stage.

“It’s a great honor to have Gov. Haslam attend and speak at our Commencement ceremony,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise.

“Gov. Haslam has made higher education opportunities in Tennessee a priority and has special interest in the unique and much-needed opportunities available at community colleges like Pellissippi State. We look forward to his message to our students, many of whom are looking toward achieving their next measure of success as they enter the workforce.”

“I look forward to having an opportunity to personally congratulate the graduates on their significant achievement and to encourage them to be part of a bigger story that is happening in our state,” Haslam said.

“We’ve set a goal to be the No. 1 state in the Southeast for high-quality jobs, and these graduates are key to making that goal a reality. We need their brainpower, their energy and their commitment to make Tennessee a healthy, thriving state.”

Haslam was elected governor in 2010, after serving two terms as mayor of Knoxville. He has championed and promoted higher education in Tennessee through his “Drive to 55” campaign. The campaign strives to bring the percentage of Tennesseans with college degrees or certifications to 55 percent by the year 2025.

A signature piece of Drive to 55 is the Tennessee Promise scholarship. The scholarship aims to give all high school graduates in the state the opportunity to attend a community college or Tennessee College of Applied Technology free of tuition and fees. As part of the Tennessee Promise, students agree to being provided with a mentor to guide them and help ensure their success.

For more information about Pellissippi State and its many programs and services, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.