Pellissippi State marks ‘All Steinway’ achievement with celebration concert

William DeVan
William DeVan

Pellissippi State Community College will be immersed in “all things Steinway” on Sept. 13, as it shares with the community the achievement of becoming an All Steinway School.

The special Steinway Celebration concert, a free event to which the public is invited, features a performance by noted pianist William DeVan, an official “Steinway Artist.” DeVan is conducting a “master” class with Music students while at the college as well.

The concert is preceded by a dedication ceremony honoring Dr. Sharon Lord. Pellissippi State is recognizing the community leader, motivational speaker and businesswoman for her support and establishing the Dr. Sharon Lord Music Suite.

All activities take place on the Pellissippi Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley RoadAufblasbare Zelte.

The Pellissippi State Foundation kicked off the All Steinway School fundraising campaign in 2010 in order to elevate the college’s Music program to world-class status. Thanks to the campaign, the community college now boasts 13 Steinway pianos in studios, practice rooms and performance venues.

Not only is Pellissippi State the premier All Steinway community college in Tennessee, but it is also the fourth All Steinway community college in the nation and one of only about 120 All Steinway colleges and universities in the world.

DeVan, one of the elite pianists who travel and perform as Steinway Artists, was a professor of music at Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama from 1980 until his retirement this year. Twice awarded Mellon Foundation grants, DeVan earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City.

DeVan performs a variety of musical selections on the 13th, showcasing one of Pellissippi State’s new Steinway pianos. Steinway representatives from New York City, the company’s headquarters, will be in attendance at the event.

Dr. Sharon Lord, a supporter of the All Steinway School campaign, has played key leadership roles on the local, national and international level in academia, business and government service.

The first female professor of educational psychology at the University of Tennessee (1969-80), Dr. Lord was instrumental in the creation of the university’s Women’s Studies program and the UT Women’s Athletics program, as well as the school’s Appalachian Center for Educational Equity. She also has been honored with the UT Outstanding Teacher Award and recognized for her work on human empowerment.

The West Virginia native served as the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense during the administration of President Ronald Reagan and later as West Virginia’s Secretary of Human Services. The author of numerous books and publications, Dr. Lord continues to speak internationally on topics of creative leadership, healthy lifestyles and managing challenging transitions.

The Dr. Sharon Lord Music Suite dedication begins at 6:15 p.m. in the Alexander Building. Attendees are asked to gather in the Lobby of the Clayton Performing Arts Center, where they will be directed to the suite.

The Steinway Celebration concert gets under way at 7 p.m. in the Clayton Performing Arts Center. Free parking is available for both events.

Donations will be accepted at the door for the Pellissippi State Foundation on behalf of the Music Scholarship fund. During the 2010-11 academic year, more than 100 music-related scholarships were awarded to more than 80 Pellissippi State students.

For additional information about the Steinway Celebration, contact Bill Brewer, Pellissippi State’s Music program coordinator, at (865) 694-6701 or

For information on the Steinway Maintenance Society, call the Pellissippi State Foundation at (865) 694-6529 or visit

To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or

First Tennessee donates $5,000 in TSBDC support to Pellissippi State Foundation

Pam Fansler with First Tennessee Bank presents a check for $5,000 to the Pellissippi State Foundation for the support of Knoxville’s TSBDC. TSBDC and Pellissippi State Community College staff were on hand to receive the donation.

(L-R) Mercedes Campbell, TSBDC Internet Training Specialist; Jane Shelton, TSBDC Administrative Assistant; Bruce Hayes, TSBDC Sr. Business Specialist; Pam Fansler, First Tennessee, East Market President; Larry Rossini, TSBDC Director; Marilyn Cobble, TSBDC Sr. Business Specialist; Julia Wood, PSCC Marketing and Communications Director; and Rob Karpick, TSBDC Sr. Business Specialist.

First Tennessee Bank’s recent gift of $5,000 to the Pellissippi State Foundation in support of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center will help a lot of people get the free training they need to start a business or improve one they are already running. TSBDC is administered by Pellissippi State Community College,

The mission of the TSBDC, located on Market Square, is to provide free counseling and training for those interested in starting or improving a small business, whether it’s brick-and-mortar or strictly online.

The donations received by the Pellissippi State Foundation from the First Tennessee Foundation have been key to TSBDC’s success, says Peggy Wilson, executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation and vice president of College Advancement.

“We appreciate First Tennessee’s long-term generosity,” she said. “First Tennessee exemplifies the ideal of a business giving back to the community. The bank’s leadership recognizes the impact that educational opportunities have for the entire family, not just for the student who earns a scholarship.”

According to Larry Rossini, director of the Knoxville TSBDC, the gift is earmarked for purchasing computer supplies, equipment and software for the resource center.

By taking advantage of the resource center and free counseling, Deborah Sellers, chief operating officer of InBalance Hormone Replacement Center on Chapman Highway, created a new business plan, organizational chart and job descriptions for her two-year-old business.

“Our gross receipts increased by 37 percent within one month,” she said.

Sellers’ relationship with the organization began when she read an article in the local Chamber of Commerce magazine that described the TSBDC’s business assessment program. During her first visit to TSBDC, she completed a comprehensive business assessment on computer.

“Immediately after the assessment, I made an appointment with Rob Karpick, senior business specialist at the TSBDC, and I met with him the very next week,” Sellers said.

“After that first meeting we were able to determine that a couple of the business’ issues were job responsibility and personnel. By making changes, we were able to improve customer service and the way the public sees us. Now we’re starting to work on the efficiency of the office. We’ve seen huge changes, and we’re only into week three.”

The donations from First Tennessee literally puts materials like the “How to Write a Business Plan in 30 Minutes” template in the hands of people like Sellers.

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

The Knoxville TSBDC serves 16 counties in East Tennessee. The TSBDC counseled 839 people and helped launch 56 new businesses in 2010.

Class available for free to the public cover such topics as e-commerce, marketing, preparing financial statements for small business, starting and managing a small business, and writing a business plan.

For information about the TSBDC, call (865) 246-2663 or visit To make a donation to the Pellissippi State Foundation, visit or call (865) 694-6529.

Pellissippi State Foundation: Blount County Campus home to extensive artwork thanks to local collector

Ed Harmon
Ed Harmon

Step into the two-story lobby of the new Pellissippi State Community College Blount County Campus facility and one of the first things you will notice is an oversize scenic painting by local artist Ron Williams. Stroll throughout the rest of the building and you’ll see paintings by Sevier County native Robert Tino and Maryville resident Heath Claiborne.

The bridge between the artists and Pellissippi State is Ed Harmon, who has donated 20 paintings and prints in all to the Pellissippi State Foundation on behalf of the community college.

Harmon, a native of Blount County and a retired Sevier County business owner, has been collecting art for decades. The Maryville resident has traveled around the world three times. With each journey, he returns home with more collectibles—a porcelain figurine from Italy, jade elephants from Africa, two lifelike wooden giraffes he had shipped to his house after a trip to Kenya, in East Africa.

But it’s the local art, especially the paintings of the Appalachian region and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, that are closest to Harmon’s heart. He knows Williams, Tino and Claiborne personally and admires their unique interpretations of the landscapes with which he is so familiar: Cades Cove, a Great Smoky Mountain sunset, the Little Pigeon River.

Harmon has one of Robert Tino’s first works, an oil painting of horses. The piece is displayed in the foyer of Harmon’s home.

“I served as the Key Club advisor at Sevier County High School,” said Harmon, “and met Robert Tino when he was an art student just starting out. It was obvious even then that he was extremely talented.”

Harmon recalls his own enjoyment of art in an educational setting, and he wanted to share that enjoyment with the Pellissippi State community.

“My first year out of college,” he said, “I taught in a school that hosted art shows and exhibited donated pieces. There was always art in the hallways. That added so much to the building and to the experience of everyone who attended school there or just visited.

“I wanted those who come to the Pellissippi State Blount County Campus to be able to enjoy that same experience. Blount County is so fortunate to have Pellissippi State.”

And the College, in turn, is fortunate to have supporters like Ed Harmon.

“Part of our mission is to provide opportunities for life, civic and cultural enrichment,” said Peggy Wilson. Wilson is vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation. Donations to the college are coordinated by the Foundation.

“Thanks to Ed Harmon, those who spend time at the Blount County Campus now have the opportunity to be enriched by a meaningful art collection. We all appreciate his willingness to share such beautiful art with the entire community, and the Foundation would certainly encourage others to contact us regarding such gifts.”

To discuss the possibility of making a donation, call the Foundation at (865) 694-6528 or email

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.

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