Pellissippi State’s 40th anniversary: Former president remembers tenure

Male standing at a podium speaking with blue press background behind
J.L. Goins speaks during the kickoff ceremony for Pellissippi State Community College’s 40th anniversary celebrations in September.

“Overrun with success.” That’s how J.L. Goins remembers what’s now Pellissippi State Community College during his time as president of the institution.

This year, Pellissippi State celebrates four decades of service to the community, with the theme “Forty Years of Achieving Success, One Story at a Time.”

Goins was president from 1981 to 1993. Under his leadership, the school changed from State Technical Institute at Knoxville to Pellissippi State Technical Community College. During that time, the institution operated campuses on Division Street and Hardin Valley Road, and it offered classes in two different empty Blount County elementary schools and even a vacated building on the grounds of Lakeshore Mental Health Institute.

Goins recalls in particular the changes after the state legislature, in 1988, made State Tech a comprehensive community college. Enrollment promptly tripled, he says.
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“The Hardin Valley campus was finished in 18 months, which was a state record,” he said, “but still, we had to delay class a few weeks that fall so we could finish the buildings.
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“That first day, we watched for students nervously. By 8:15, students had filled every parking space we had—and still they came.”

Goins acknowledges the selfless contributions of faculty and staff in those years, when enrollment exceeded state funding and faculty members agreed to teach extra courses without pay to ensure no students were turned away.

He also recalls how the name “Pellissippi” was chosen. The name is said to come from a Cherokee word, “Pelisipi,” which means “winding waters” and refers to the nearby Clinch River.

“It wasn’t a typical name for a community college,” Goins said. “But it was a term that had a history in the community. We understood that we would be an anchor in the community, that we would be a leader in the growth of this area, and ‘Pellissippi’ fit that idea.”

It was during Goins’ term as president that the stage was set for Pellissippi State’s long history of workforce development.

“I spent a lot of time working to recruit businesses to the area,” he said, “because I understood that those businesses would be hiring our graduates.”
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Goins foresees that the next 40 years will bring continued growth to Pellissippi State. The college will “continue to change to meet the educational needs of our community, with programs like our culinary, music and art and with the much-needed advanced manufacturing training.”

Throughout the year, the college will host community events as well as other special occasions for students, faculty and staff. Students, alumni and community members are encouraged to share their positive stories and memories of Pellissippi State at On social media, use #PSCC40.

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

Pellissippi State faculty member’s art explores time, movement

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artwork of pathway
Artist Brian Jobe and his son, Russell, visit “Right Angle Reply (Tall Grasses)” at the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum.

In a culture in which the passage of time is often rushed, one Pellissippi State Community College faculty member has unveiled an interactive public art installation designed to encourage visitors to pause in the moment and engage in their surroundings.
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Brian R. Jobe, an art adjunct faculty member, completed the permanent piece, titled “Right Angle Reply (Tall Grasses),” at the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum during the summer. The 100-linear-foot pathway is constructed of brick, mortar, and paint and is designed to increase the mindfulness of visitors who walk through it.

“‘Right Angle Reply (Tall Grasses)’ is a series of open pathways allowing visitors to come in and interact with it at multiple points,” Jobe said. “The universal nature of the angled corridors creates a space of increased awareness for a person within the piece. When the zigzag motion slows visitors, they become more engaged and aware of their surroundings.
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“I hope that it can be a place for people to gather, rest, move and think. It invites all ages to walk through it, lean against it, sit on top of it or next to it. That interactive experience is something people will remember being part of, and it’s designed to be a destination spot for people to return again and again.”

Jobe’s projects are focused on altering foot traffic to engage walkers in a physical, sensory experience.

To complete “Right Angle Reply (Tall Grasses),” Jobe partnered with General Shale, Johnson & Galyon Construction, and Sequatchie Concrete, which donated materials and labor in full. He also worked with project consultants Christopher King of Smee + Busby Architects; John McRae, a professor at the University of Tennessee College of Architecture and Design; and Carri Jobe, a painter and the artist’s wife.

“The use of brick and other modular building units suggests permanence, yet houses the fluid movement of the public within these passages,” said Brian Jobe. “There’s a terrific tension embedded in that dynamic of static and active.”
For more information about Pellissippi State, visit or call (865) 694-6400. For more about Brian Jobe, visit


Pellissippi State faculty star in art exhibit

artworkThe works of many of Pellissippi State Community College’s Art faculty are featured in an exhibit that kicks off Oct. 6.

The special Faculty Art Exhibit runs through Oct. 24. The display is in the gallery of the Bagwell Center for Media and Art on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
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“This exhibit showcases the current work of our four full-time faculty members as well as several of our adjunct faculty members, so it’s a department-wide show,” said Jeff Lockett, professor and Art program coordinator. “We’ll have two-dimensional and three-dimensional art featuring both abstract and representational work.

“The Bagwell Gallery is wonderful for showcasing the work of local and regional artists, as well as the work of our talented students and our faculty.”


The Faculty Art Exhibit is one of the events that make up Pellissippi State’s arts series, The Arts at Pellissippi State. The series brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts. This year, the arts series celebrates Pellissippi State’s 40th anniversary.
For more information, visit or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or

Pellissippi State vice president named Woman of the Year

portrait of female in red suitPeggy Wilson, Pellissippi State Community College’s vice president of College Advancement, has been named Woman of the Year in Education by the National Association of Professional Women.

“I’m honored and humbled to receive this award by an organization that seeks to empower and encourage professional women,” said Wilson, also the executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation.
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The award recognizes “excellence, leadership and commitment to her profession, while encouraging the achievement of professional women.” The NAPW is the largest networking organization of professional women in the country, with more than 600,000 members.

Wilson has worked at Pellissippi State for 28 years. She was the first person in her family to graduate from college, the first employee at Pellissippi State to receive the Outstanding Administrator award and the school’s first female vice president. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Eastern Kentucky University and a master’s in education from Morehead State University.

“My greatest achievement is going from a girl wanting more than the mountains could offer to becoming the first female vice president at Pellissippi State,” Wilson said.

In addition to her other accomplishments, Wilson was named the 2001 Executive of the Year for the International Association of Administrative Professionals, Oak Ridge Chapter, and won the 2010 Excellence in Administration Otis L. Floyd Jr. Award from the Tennessee College Public Relations Association.
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Wilson serves in and supports a number of community and international organizations, including Rotary Club of Farragut and Rotary International, Knoxville Symphony League, the Cerebral Palsy Center, East Tennessee Historical Society, and East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. She and her husband, Joe, are members of Cokesbury United Methodist Church. Wilson has three children and three grandchildren.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit or call (865) 694-6400. For more information about the National Association of Professional Women, visit

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