Joy Bishop receives Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy

Pellissippi State Foundation Board Member Receiving TBR's Chancellor's Award
(L-R) Ginger Hausser, TBR associate vice president for Institutional Advancement, Joy Bishop, Regent Danni Varlan, PSCC President L. Anthony Wise


The Tennessee Board of Regents has presented the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy to Maryville’s Joy Bishop in recognition of her support of Pellissippi State Community College.

The award is part of TBR’s Excellence in Philanthropy Awards recognition program that began in 2003 to recognize individuals, companies and organizations who donate their resources, finances and personal time to TBR institutions. TBR is the governing body for Tennessee’s 13 community colleges and 27 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology.

“I am honored to receive this award. I believe in the community college concept, and I particularly support Pellissippi State and its Blount County Campus. Dr. Wise, the faculty and the staff at Pellissippi State have added a great deal to all five of their campuses. I’m just so proud to be a member of the Pellissippi State Foundation Board of Trustees,” Bishop said.

Bishop has been a long-time supporter of Pellissippi State. She provided leadership in two of Pellissippi State’s major gift campaigns, which have resulted in the establishment and the expansion of the college’s Blount County Campus.

“Joy’s financial commitment to the college is just the tip of the iceberg in measuring her impact. She is a natural-born fundraiser who is not shy about asking others to support our institution,” said L. Anthony Wise, president of Pellissippi State.”

Most notably, she also was instrumental in the development and implementation of the Leg-Up Child Care Assistance Program, a program that provides free child care to a number of qualified Pellissippi State students who are single parents. The program is a partnership between the Tennessee Department of Human Services, Pellissippi State and state-licensed child care centers in East Tennessee.

Program participants must be enrolled in a minimum of six credit-hours, have a 2.0 or better grade-point-average and be working toward a certificate or associate degree program. Leg-Up pays the full cost of weekly child care, after-school costs, registration fees and various activity charges for children between six-weeks-old and age 13.

The financial burden on single parent-students to provide child care while they work, attend school, and take care of their children, is a major factor in determining whether a student will successfully complete college. The annual cost of providing one child with year-round care can exceed $10,000 a year, and many of Pellissippi State’s student-parents have more than one child. Students participating in Leg-Up have shown improved class attendance, better grades and a lower dropout rate.

Bishop says the inspiration for the Leg-Up Program began on a 12-hour plane flight to Southeast Asia with friend Carolyn Forster. The women were on a trip to Vietnam and had a lot of time to think and talk about ways to help the students at Pellissippi State.

“We realized that the cost of child care was a real problem, especially for single parents,” said Bishop. “So we said, ‘We can do something about that,’ and we came up with a plan. We would get the business community to support us, and we would select only highly-motivated students and provide them with mentors in addition to the child care.”

Bishop formed a committee, which included Holly Burkett, the dean of Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus, did some research on the cost of day care, and wrote out a plan to take to the state.

“Dr. Wise and I went to see the DHS commissioner. [Former] State Senator Doug Overbey [Maryville] met us at the commissioner’s office. Commissioner Hatter was aware of how much child care was a barrier to some students. She was impressed someone was working to do something to keep single parents in school and approved the plan,” Bishop said.

Bishop is quick to share the credit for the success of Leg-Up with her fellow committee members: Marty Black, Jim Proffitt, Carolyn Forster, Ellie Morrow, Gaynelle Lawson, Steve West, Mark Johnson, Greg McLean, Tammi Ford, Tom Bogart, Pam Wolf and Holly Burkett.

In September 2016, Pellissippi State hired Le’John Ellis to manage the program, which has grown steadily and, now, provides quality child care free of charge for 39 student-parents with 60 children in Knox and Blount counties.

“I think Le’John fell from heaven,” Bishop said. “Everyone needs someone to give them a leg up once in their lives. I’m so proud of Leg-Up. It’s perfect, just perfect.”

Bishop, a native of Texas, graduated from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Federal Executive Institute. She spent 30 years in the U.S. Air Force as a civilian and was the first woman to receive an appointment to the Senior Executive Service. Bishop retired in 1990 as one of the highest ranking civilians in the Air Force and put her roots down in Blount County. She then started her own consulting firm, the Emerald Group, which helped underdeveloped countries. Joy serves her community as a member of Maryville Church of Christ, Blount Partnership, Maryville Kiwanis Club, Blount County Library, Maryville College Advisory Board, Clayton-Bradley Academy and Clayton Center for the Arts.

“Joy’s work in the community and with Pellissippi State is transformative. When it comes to volunteering, Joy brings plenty of passion and positivity to the table. Her creativity, motivation and vision inspires all that engage with her. It is an honor to nominate Joy Bishop for the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy,” Wise said.

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

Female metalworking artists exhibit at Pellissippi State

Fe Exhibit Artwork
The “Fe” exhibit at Pellissippi State spotlights female metalworkers.

Celebrate women in art at Pellissippi State Community College during the “Fe: Women Working in Iron, Bronze, Aluminum and Steel” exhibit, Feb. 5-23.

The free exhibit will showcase regional female artists who work in processes that use metal, including forging, casting, welding and assemblage. The community is invited to attend the exhibit, held in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art gallery. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.

A reception to meet the artists — Allison Baker, Caroline Covington, Jacqueline Fisher, Cassidy Frye, Holly Kelly, Stephanie Loggans, Erica Mendoza, Marisa Mitchell, Karly Stribling and Erin Tucker — will be 3-5 p.m., Feb. 5. “Fe” is curated by Covington, who is also a faculty member at Pellissippi State.

“The chemical symbol for iron is ‘Fe,’ and one of the basic classifications of metal is whether or not it contains iron — whether it is ferrous or non-ferrous. Thus, ‘fe’ is an elemental component of all of these works, as is being female,” Covington said.

“Each artist brings her own conceptual presence to the show. Metal has endless possibilities; so does our definition of femininity,” she added.

Works in the show range from large-scale abstract assemblages to intimate cast iron garments and figurative bronze castings.

“Fe” is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, an annual arts series that includes music and theatre performances, lectures and fine arts exhibits. For more information about The Arts at Pellissippi State, visit or call 865-694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability at this event, call 865-539-7401 or email

Pellissippi State hosts Michael Shirtz for musical performance

Michael Shirtz
Michael Shirtz

Pellissippi State Community College will host jazz singer, producer and composer Michael Shirtz for a special concert, “America, Our Way: An American Songbook Story” on Feb. 3.

The free concert begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Clayton Performing Arts Center, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

“America, Our Way” features highlights and tributes of the great composers and legendary performers in American entertainment — from Irving Berlin to Gershwin, from rock and roll to the singer and songwriter era. The show celebrates 100 years of musical stylings in 90 minutes.

The performance is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, an annual arts series that includes music and theatre performances, lectures and fine arts exhibits. “America, Our Way” is co-sponsored by Pellissippi State Student Life, the Common Academic Experience and the Theatre program.

In addition to his performance for the community, Shirtz will conduct a workshop for students at Pellissippi State.

For more information about The Arts at Pellissippi State, visit or call 865-694-6400. To request accommodations for this concert, call 865-539-7401 or email

Pellissippi State hosts Bob Booker for African American Read-In Week

Pellissippi State Community College will celebrate African American literature during a read-in week Feb. 12-16 at each of its campuses.

Local historian Robert J. “Bob” Booker will discuss the history of the Civil Rights Movement in Knoxville during a special presentation at 6:30 p.m., Feb. 15, in the Magnolia Avenue Campus community room. The presentation is free to attend and open to the community.

Booker is a prominent Civil Rights activist who organized downtown Knoxville sit-ins as a student. He was the first African American elected to the Tennessee state legislature from Knoxville in the twentieth century and was instrumental in establishing the Beck Cultural Center. He is currently a Knoxville News Sentinel columnist and the author of the recently-published “An Encyclopedia: Experiences of Black People in Knoxville, Tennessee 1844-1974.”

At all five Pellissippi State campuses, students and employees will share their favorite texts by African American authors during read-ins — essentially a collection of marathon reading events:

  • Blount County Campus — 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Feb. 14, lobby
  • Division Street Campus — 9:40 a.m.-5 p.m., Feb. 15, lobby
  • Hardin Valley Campus — 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Feb. 16, Goins Building rotunda
  • Magnolia Avenue Campus — 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Feb. 12, lobby
  • Strawberry Plains Campus — 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Feb. 13, lobby

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit or call 865-694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability at one of these events, call 865-539-7401 or email

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