Pellissippi State students and others benefit from First Horizon support

Pam Fansler, East Market president of First Tennessee
Pam Fansler, East Market president of First Tennessee

Working Mother magazine recently lauded First Horizon National Corporation for providing “college scholarships of up to $20,000 … when it’s time for employees’ children to leave the nest.”

The publication was describing “what we love” about the financial services business. First Horizon has made Working Mother’s “Top 100” companies list for 16 consecutive years. Based in Memphis, the corporation has a strong presence in Knoxville through its First Tennessee network of banks.

First Horizon also has a strong presence in providing scholarship and other support to Pellissippi State Community College. The company has donated to the college, through the Pellissippi State Foundation, in numerous ways since the mid-1990s.

The First Tennessee Foundation has supported annual events such as the Pellissippi State Hot Air Balloon Festival and the Swing Big for Students Golf Tournament, both of which generate money for student scholarships. When the Pellissippi State Foundation conducted campaigns to raise funds for the Magnolia Avenue and Blount County campuses, again First Horizon provided support.

But it is the endowed scholarships that bring the many letters of gratitude directly from students to the desk of Pam Fansler, East Market president of First Tennessee.

“I’ve met scholarship recipients, I receive phone calls from them, and I get letters,” said Fansler. “We get such nice notes from students, and so many of them say that without the scholarship, they would not have the opportunity to attend college.”

From a letter by a fall 2010 incoming freshman enrolled at the new Blount County Campus: “Attending college gives me the opportunity to obtain jobs that I will personally enjoy and that will give higher pay.”

From a thank-you letter by another 2010 scholarship recipient: “Returning to college is a big step towards my future, and this scholarship helps provide the means for that step and I appreciate it so much.”

But the First Horizon–Pellissippi State alliance benefits more than only college students. It also has a direct impact on small businesses in the region.

The area Tennessee Small Business Development Center, which is administered by Pellissippi State, was the recipient of a recent $5,000 contribution through the Pellissippi State Foundation from First Tennessee Bank. TSBDC provides counseling and training to small-business managers and owners and those interested in starting a small business.

According to Larry Rossini, director of the Knoxville TSBDC, the gift is being used to purchase computer supplies, equipment and software, as well as publications and books.

“Without these generous funds from First Tennessee Bank,” said Rossini, “we could not provide the quality service we offer to the small-business community.”

As executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation, Peggy Wilson, who is also vice president of College Advancement for the college, especially appreciates the long-term generosity of the banking network.

“First Tennessee exemplifies the ideal of a business giving back to the community,” she said. “They recognize the impact that educational opportunities have for the entire family, not just for the student who earns a scholarship.”

Likewise, First Tennessee’s Fansler thinks highly of Pellissippi State.

“Dr. Edwards, the faculty and staff, all do an exceptional job educating students in a very challenging environment right now,” she said.

“We’re really proud to be associated with Pellissippi State, and they’re a lot like we are with our employees. The people at Pellissippi State come to work every day with one thing in mind: the success of students.”

For information about making a donation to Pellissippi State, visit the Pellissippi State Foundation’s Web site,, or call the Foundation Office, (865) 694-6529.