Pellissippi State’s inaugural Gamma Beta Phi class also honor society’s largest

posted in: Academics, Awards, Students | 0

portrait of femaleDoneisha Wilburn was one of 176 students at Pellissippi State Community College inducted into the national Gamma Beta Phi Society earlier this school year.

The induction was Pellissippi State’s inaugural Gamma Beta Phi class—it was also the biggest community college class in the 40,000-plus-member honor society.

“Pellissippi State had the largest community college induction in the entire organization,” said Kevin Fillers. Fillers, himself a Pellissippi State alumnus, is assistant national executive director of Gamma Beta Phi.

“Gamma Beta Phi sets out to recognize and enrich the lives of academically excellent students who are willing to make a commitment to improving their community through service projects.”

Wilburn, who is pursuing a career in social work, is set to earn her associate’s degree in May.

“I was honored to be named to Gamma Beta Phi,” she said. “It’s the first time I’ve ever been involved in an honors society.”

The Gamma Beta Phi Society is dedicated to promoting education and providing community service to colleges and communities. Pellissippi State’s first Gamma Beta Phi induction took place in October 2014.

The college’s Gamma Beta Phi chapter is one of several student clubs that offer the opportunity for students to give back to the community and be honored for their academic achievements.

“When students get involved in a club, they feel connected to Pellissippi State for years to come,” said Kim Thomas-LaRue, director of Student Life. “Our goal is to lead students to connect and engage on campus so that their academic experience is enhanced.”

Wilburn is active in Student Life and is a member of the college’s Student Activities Board, which plans campus events for students. She says both organizations keep her busy on campus, but she loves opportunities to get to know people and to help.

“It’s an honor to do that: to help out around campus as much as we can,” said Wilburn. “It’s busy, but it’s fun and good to be involved and to help students.

“I started at another community college in Nashville before moving back home and coming to Pellissippi State, but that ended up being the best thing for me. Pellissippi State has helped me start out well on my academic path.”

After Wilburn graduates in May, she plans to transfer to Tennessee State University, where she will continue working toward a bachelor’s degree in social work.

“I love to help people. Knowing that you made an impact and that you changed someone’s life for the better is always a rewarding feeling.”

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

Pellissippi State honors Knox County, City of Knoxville

group of people standing in rows, holding award
Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and City of Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, recipients of the Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy, celebrated the grand opening of the Center for Student and Community Engagement at Pellissippi State Community College’s Magnolia Avenue Campus Friday, Feb. 6. Also pictured are Pellissippi State president L. Anthony Wise Jr., Magnolia Avenue Campus dean Rosalyn Tillman, TBR chancellor John Morgan, TBR vice chancellor of community colleges Warren R. Nichols, TBR board member Danni Varlan, and other elected officials.

On Friday, February 6, Pellissippi State Community College and the Tennessee Board of Regents honored the support of Knox County and the City of Knoxville during an awards ceremony at the College’s Magnolia Avenue Campus.

Knox County and City of Knoxville representatives, including mayors Tim Burchett and Madeline Rogero, were presented the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy in honor of their combined investment of more than $1 million to the College, particularly the Magnolia Avenue Campus.

“The support and partnership of our local governments has been critical to our success in reaching students and helping them succeed,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. in his nomination letter.

“Courses and programs offered at the Magnolia Avenue Campus help build our regional workforce. Local government investment in the College has helped to support the expansion of our regional tax base and keep unemployment low in East Tennessee.

“At Pellissippi State, our collaboration with local government is impacting workforce development and student success. Without question, our mission to serve our community has been enhanced through our partnerships with the governments of Knox County and the City of Knoxville,” he added.

For more information about Pellissippi State’s Magnolia Avenue Campus, visit or call (865) 329-3100.

Pellissippi State, Board of Regents recognize Clayton family for support

Row of 5 people, 2 holding awards
Pellissippi State Community College and Tennessee Board of Regents presented the Clayton Family Foundation and Clayton Homes with the Regents Award for Excellence in Philanthropy at a legislative breakfast Friday, Feb. 9. Pictured, from left, are TBR Chancellor John Morgan, Clayton Homes vice president of corporate services David Jordan, Jim Clayton of Clayton Family Foundation and Clayton Bank and Trust, TBR board member Danni Varlan and Pellissippi State president L. Anthony Wise Jr.

Pellissippi State Community College and the Tennessee Board of Regents recognized the Clayton Family Foundation and Clayton Homes for their support of higher education at a state legislative breakfast in Knoxville Friday, Feb. 6.

Danni Varlan, a TBR board member, presented the Regents Award for Excellence in Philanthropy to James L. Clayton of the Clayton Family Foundation and Kevin Clayton of Clayton Homes. TBR is the governing body for Pellissippi State and all of the state’s other community colleges.

“Clayton Homes and the Clayton Family Foundation truly epitomize the spirit of the Regents Award,” Varlan said. “Their contributions to numerous institutions in East Tennessee have enriched the fabric of our community. The Clayton foundations together have awarded over $40 million to hundreds of charitable organizations, giving back to the generations to come.”

A $1 million donation to the Pellissippi State Foundation from the Clayton Family Foundation and Clayton Homes supported two major projects: the Performing Arts Center and the Blount County Campus. The gift to the Performing Arts Center in 2008 resulted in the 500-seat facility’s renaming to the Clayton Performing Arts Center. The donation to the Blount County Campus, which opened in 2010, went for the purchase of equipment and furniture.

“Support from the Clayton family has been so much more than bricks and mortar,” Varlan said. The Claytons’ philanthropy and generosity have benefited various programs, campaigns, and funds, including Music scholarships, The Arts at Pellissippi State, art and cultural program funds, the Student Emergency Loan fund, and the Greatest Need fund for students, among others.

To find out more about the Pellissippi State Foundation, including opportunities to give, visit or call (865) 694-6528.

Pellissippi State announces opening of support center at Magnolia Avenue Campus

group of people in a lab on computers

Today, Pellissippi State Community College celebrated the grand opening of the Center for Student and Community Engagement at the Magnolia Avenue Campus.

The center provides a one-stop resource for student support services, including financial aid, advising, counseling, tutoring, service-learning, and safety and security.

“Life sometimes gets in the way of academic success,” said Rosalyn Tillman, dean of the Magnolia Avenue Campus. “The goal of the center is to provide every service we can to help our students overcome those distractions and roadblocks to success. Everything we do, we do so they can focus on school.”

Tillman was joined for the grand opening by L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president, as well as representatives from the Tennessee Board of Regents, Knox County and the city of Knoxville.

The center is designed to encourage student engagement within the school and in the community. Support programs and other resources will promote overall student health and wellness, prepare students for careers, and connect them with essential social support.

For more information about the Magnolia Avenue Campus and the Center for Student and Community Engagement, visit or call (865) 329-3100.

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