Category Archives: Community

Pellissippi State presents dramatic reading of Sophocles’ ‘Ajax’

When Sophocles wrote the play “Ajax” about 440 B.C., he could never have guessed that his tragedy about war in ancient Greece would be applicable in 21st century America.

Rob Lloyd, an English faculty member at Pellissippi State Community College, is bringing a dramatic reading of Sophocles’ oldest surviving play to campus. In the college’s presentation, “Shattered Ancients,” the parts of “Ajax” will be read by faculty and students.

The event is Friday, Nov. 9, noon-1, in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus. The community is invited to attend the free reading.

Lloyd says he has been amazed at how the classic mirrors the problems of some of his students who are veterans: adjusting to civilian life after military service and coping with post-traumatic stress disorder, for instance.

The play centers around the mighty warrior Ajax and addresses such timeless issues as pride, disgrace, and respect for the dead.

“I thought when I read the play, The human heart didn’t change much in 25 centuries,” Lloyd said. “War was hell. War is still hell. We believe Johnny comes marching home again and that he goes back to an upright family. Many times that’s not true—he often comes home deeply damaged.”

The performance is sponsored by the college’s Faculty Lecture Series and the student literary publication “Imaginary Gardens.”

For more information about the production, call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or

Pellissippi State hosts Mediterranean Cultural Fest

The Mediterranean Sea touches countries on three continents, bridging the cultures of a vast and exotic expanse. Pellissippi State Community College celebrates that region with the Mediterranean Cultural Festival on Nov. 2.

The free event is 5-8:30 p.m. in the Goins Building College Center on the Hardin Valley Campus. The public is encouraged to attend.

The festival is part of the Arts at Pellissippi State series, which brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts.

The Mediterranean Cultural Festival showcases the entertainment of the region with the following performances:

  • 6-7 p.m.—Debka and the Oasis Dancers, a Knoxville-based belly dancing group.
  • 7:10-8:30 p.m.—Italian violinist Al Colombo and ensemble. The group also features Mike Benjamin on keyboard and vocals and David Correll on bass guitar. The ensemble plays classic and contemporary Italian music, including pieces written by Italy’s foremost composers.

Take in the performances and experience the region’s food at an epicurean marketplace with fruits and vegetables and an Italian café with European teas, coffees, and desserts.

Participants also can sample Spanish paella, pastitsio with bechamel topping, Mediterranean pasta salad with California avocado, tzatziki sauce with falafel, keftedes (Greek meatballs), and hummus and pita bread.

The festival is sponsored by Pellissippi State’s Access and Diversity Office. For more information, call (865) 694-6400 or email Gayle Wood, director of Access and Diversity, at

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

Pellissippi State hosts Oct. 13 Habitat shed-raising event

Eighteen sheds. Seven-and-a-half hours. One hundred volunteers at Pellissippi State Community College.

Hammers will be swinging on the Hardin Valley Campus on Saturday, Oct. 13, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., as the college hosts an alternative fall break event titled “Shed Happens.”

Pellissippi State is joining with Lowe’s Home Improvement Heroes Project, the Loudon County Habitat for Humanity, Smithbilt Homes and TnAchieves to construct 18 sheds to be donated to the Loudon County Habitat for Humanity.

The Loudon County Habitat presents each family it works with on building a home with a storage shed upon the house’s completion, and the Pellissippi State partnership’s efforts will provide the nonprofit organization with an 18-month supply of sheds.

The college’s participation is part of its Service-Learning program, launched last year.

Service-Learning integrates community service and academics to make education relevant and exciting, says Tara Lynn, who facilitates the program with Annie Gray. Lynn and Gray are both English faculty members. Lynn says she and Gray hope that the partnership among businesses, nonprofit organizations, and the college will become a model for community and civic engagement efforts throughout the state.

“Six of our classes currently have a service-learning component,” said Lynn. “There are approximately 1,000 to 1,500 Pellissippi State students engaged in service in the community in some way, whether through Service-Learning courses, our Gnosis student service club or TnAchieves. This event is our single largest Service-Learning volunteer effort for fall 2012.”

For more information about Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning program or the shed-raising event, visit or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State receives prestigious American Council on Education grant to benefit working adults

Pellissippi State Community College is the recipient of a $23,000 grant awarded by the American Council on Education for its Adult Education Demonstration projects.

The grant is part of ACE’s initiative to help more working adults in the U.S. earn college degrees. Pellissippi State is one of only six higher education institutions nationwide to be chosen for the award.

“We’re honored to partner with the American Council on Education on this initiative,” said Anthony Wise, Pellissippi State president. “This grant helps us reach a growing population on our campuses and contributes toward a more skilled, educated workforce in our region. It will also support our goals under Complete College Tennessee.”

Pellissippi State plans to use the grant funds to expand the process of awarding course-specific credits to adult learners who are in Department of Labor apprenticeship programs or the military. The college is already working with several area employers and will target its efforts on the Associate of Applied Science degree in Engineering Technology.

The Engineering Technology program offers concentrations in Civil Engineering, Electrical Construction Management, Electrical Engineering, Industrial Maintenance, Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering. Credits may also be used toward Pellissippi State’s General Technology program.

For Pellissippi State, this is not unfamiliar territory. The college has developed curricula for several local companies and is currently writing course content for a new general maintenance mechatronics program announced by the Automotive Manufacturers Technical Education Collaborative. The AMTEC curriculum takes into consideration skills employees have learned on the job, which can result in academic credit for those who make satisfactory scores on assessments and curriculum modules.

The institutions that won grants present their project results at the ACE Annual Meeting, March 2-5, 2013, in Washington, D.C. The other grant recipients are the School of Continuing and Professional Studies at the University of Virginia, Eastern Connecticut State University, Campbellsville (Ky.) University, University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College in Ohio, and Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

Learn more about Pellissippi State at or call (865) 694-6400.

Learn more about East Tennessee volunteer opportunities at Pellissippi State’s volunteer resource fair

Pellissippi State Community College will host a volunteer resource fair, Call to Service (C2S), on Sept. 12 to introduce members of the community and students interested in learning about regional volunteer opportunities to local nonprofit agencies seeking volunteers. More than 75 agencies have been invited to the free event. Pellissippi State’s Magnolia Avenue Campus is hosting the fair.

Potential volunteers will have the opportunity to meet with agency representatives to learn more about each nonprofit organization’s mission and the roles available to individuals wishing to become more involved in their communities. This marks the second year that the Magnolia Avenue Campus has hosted a volunteer resource fair.

Students at Pellissippi State are introduced to volunteerism through the school’s Service-Learning program and the student club Gnosis. Service-learning pairs community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.

To date, Pellissippi State students have volunteered with Beardsley Community Farm, Ijams Nature Center, and Maynard Elementary School, all in Knoxville; Second Harvest Food Bank in Maryville; and a growing list of other schools and nonprofit organizations.

Event hours are 10 a.m.-2 p.m. C2S takes place in the Joe Armstrong Building at Pellissippi State’s Magnolia Avenue Campus, 1610 E. Magnolia Ave. Registration is not required. The event will also take place at the Blount County Campus on September 26 and the Hardin Valley Campus on September 28.

For additional information, call (865) 694-6400 or visit To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or

Help your community: donate blood at Pellissippi State

Medic Regional Blood Center is hosting a blood drive at Pellissippi State Community College on Sept. 12, and those who donate receive a free T-shirt and a coupon for a one-topping pizza. More important, donors will play an instrumental role in keeping the blood supply at a level critical to serving those in need in East Tennessee.

There is a call for all blood types and currently an emergency need for O positive and O negative blood types. One donation can help up to three people. Blood and its components are used for transfusions, as well as in the treatment of patients with cancer and clotting disorders.

Donors must be at least 17 years of age and weigh a minimum of 110 pounds. They should not have fasted prior to arriving. In fact, Medic suggests that donors eat a meal and drink fluids approximately three hours prior to donating. Participants are asked to provide photo identification and a list of all current medications to Medic personnel at the site.

Event hours are 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. The mobile unit will be parked in the F-1 lot at Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

Additional information on the donation process can be found at

Pellissippi State Foundation: Local business executive, wife donate $1 million for Strawberry Plains campus

Randy Boyd, president and CEO of PetSafe, and his wife, Jenny, have donated $1 million to the Foundation of Pellissippi State Community College toward the purchase of the college’s new Strawberry Plains Campus. The facility, located just off of I-40 and Strawberry Plains Pike, is set to begin offering classes this fall.

Randy Boyd, who served as the two-year institution’s 2011 Commencement speaker, says he and Jenny made the contribution to the East Knox County site because they saw the potential to re-purpose a long-unused facility and to improve access to educational opportunities for thousands of students.

“Through my involvement with tnAchieves [a college-access scholarship program], we learned what an incredible asset Pellissippi State is to our community,” he said.

“By expanding the college’s facilities and making access to higher education more convenient to those in East Knoxville, we should be able to make college more likely for tnAchieves students, and for people of all ages, in that area.”

The Boyds say their hope is that the donation will not only allow more students to further their education but also encourage others in the community to support the expansion of educational opportunities.

Pellissippi State acquired the former Philips Consumer Electronics’ East Tennessee headquarters earlier this year in order to broaden access to the college’s many programs and to work toward the fulfillment of the goals of the Complete College Tennessee Act.

A Tennessee state program that funded community college capital projects contributed $8.5 million toward the $10 million purchase price. The Pellissippi State Foundation, which raises money to benefit students, paid the remainder using the contributions of the Boyds and other private donors.

The donation from Randy and Jenny Boyd plays a major role in Pellissippi State’s ability to increase its reach throughout the area. L. Anthony Wise Jr., president of Pellissippi State, expressed gratitude for the couple’s contribution on behalf of the entire college.

“Supporters like Randy and Jenny make it possible to expand access to our programs in East Knox County, as we work toward increasing success at the college as a whole,” said Wise. “The number of potential collaborative opportunities with business and industry and other educational institutions has increased significantly with this new campus.”

The Strawberry Plains Campus is located on 32.6 acres and boasts a 223,000-square-foot facility. Philips constructed the building in 1980, a project that took two years, then completed a major renovation and remodel in 2002.

The facility, which has been vacant since 2006 when Philips moved out, has open office space, gathering areas, private offices, a full-service cafeteria and kitchen, a theater-style presentation room, a warehouse area with loading dock, and a design wing once used by company engineers.

PetSafe, whose headquarters are in Knoxville, develops pet behavior, containment, lifestyle product solutions and services.

The purchase of the Strawberry Plains Campus, located at 7201 Strawberry Plains Pike, gives Pellissippi State a total of five locations. The Hardin Valley Campus is located in West Knox County. The Division Street and Magnolia Avenue campuses are located in Knoxville as well. The Blount County Campus is at 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Pkwy. (U.S. 321).

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

Pellissippi State: New Service-Learning program pairs in-class work with community outreach

Gladys Nance headshotOpt for service-learning at Pellissippi State Community College and the world can become your classroom.

Case in point: Ijams River Rescue on Saturday, March 31.

Pellissippi State students are taking part in Ijams Nature Center’s annual cleanup of the Tennessee River through the college’s new Service-Learning program and its service-learning student club, Gnosis. Service-learning pairs community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.

Beyond Ijams, Pellissippi State’s program has created partnerships with Second Harvest Food Bank in Maryville, Beardsley Community Farm, Maynard Elementary School and a growing list of other schools and nonprofit organizations.

“This spring, students from several Pellissippi classes are incorporating their class work with meaningful service to these community partners,” said Annie Gray, associate professor of English, Service-Learning program co-facilitator and co-advisor for the student club Gnosis.

Gray’s freshman composition students, for example, are establishing the bluebird trails at Ijams in conjunction with writing a paper on nature. Those working on a unit on education are tutoring children at Maynard Elementary School. Some of the college’s students are learning about wealth and poverty as they help build houses through Loudon County Habitat for Humanity.

Classes taught by H.L. Ford, associate professor of English, and Tara Lynn, assistant professor of English and Service-Learning program co-facilitator, also are participating in the program.

Gladys Nance, one of Gray’s English composition students, has incorporated her service-learning experience this semester into writing assignments. Until recently, she was an Army medic in Afghanistan. As a student, Nance chose to provide medical assistance to homeless people through Lost Sheep Ministries:

“Service-learning has shown me the true values of life…. It is important for all of us to play our part right in order to make a difference and ensure that no one goes without the necessary things to survive.

“This service has drastically changed my views on judging those individuals that are unable to provide for themselves. There is always a reason why those individuals are in that predicament…. Everyone deserves a second chance at life.”

Interested in learning more or getting involved in Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning program? Call Tara Lynn, (865) 539-7210, or Annie Gray, 694-6492, or email

Here are some of the upcoming events:

  • Call to Service (C2S), 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on Friday, March 30. At C2S, local nonprofits come to campus to let students know about service opportunities. Service-Learning hosts C2S in the Courtyard of the Hardin Valley Campus.
  • Ijams River Rescue, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on the 31st. Service-Learning students and Gnosis members clean up around the river at a site off Western Avenue. The area is accessible through the Beardsley Community Farm parking lot.
  • Highlander Research and Education Center, Friday, April 6. Service-Learning and Gnosis co-sponsor the multi-club field trip to New Market. Students will learn about Highlander’s impact on the labor movement, Civil Rights era and, more recently, immigration.

‘Biggest Loser’ contestant Sherry Johnston speaks at Pellissippi State

But what if you can?
It’s a question that has become a motivating force in the life of Sherry Johnston, a contestant in Season 9 of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.” It is also a message she will bring to Pellissippi State Community College on March 27.

Johnston, a Knoxville native, and her daughter, Ashley, competed in 2010 on the popular program, which promotes weight loss and a healthier lifestyle. Her mantra, she says, emerged from a statement her daughter made during training.

At one point, Ashley voiced concerns that she wouldn’t be able to do what the trainers asked: “I can’t do it.”

“I looked at her,” said Johnston, “and it was definitely a God moment, and I said, ‘But what if you can?’” Those words of support got them through the struggle, and Johnston now uses the same message to encourage others.

At Pellissippi State, Johnston will share her experiences on the program and discuss how she dropped nearly 100 pounds in her three-month stay on the Biggest Loser ranch. Since the season ended, she has continued to maintain her weight and now devotes much of her time to promoting a healthy and fit lifestyle.

The free presentation takes place 12:45-1:45 p.m. at Pellissippi State’s Clayton Performing Arts Center. The center is located on the Pellissippi Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The event is presented by Pellissippi State’s Alumni Association and sponsored by Covenant Health.

For more information, contact Alumni Relations, (865) 539-7275 or To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or

Internationally acclaimed photographer Lois Greenfield to visit Pellissippi State

Lois Greenfield, internationally acclaimed photographer, visits Pellissippi State Community College on Feb. 22 for a free public forum on photography. Pictured is Greenfield’s “Flipper Hope, Jack Gallagher, Daniel Erzalow and Ashley Roland.”

In her exuberant and explosive pictures, Lois Greenfield captures not just the lithe and acrobatic forms of dancers in flight but also the purity and exhilaration of movement itself.

Without tricks or manipulation of any kind, she catches these seemingly impossible moments in a lyrical and graphic style. On Feb. 22, members of the community are invited to a presentation by the artist, “Lois Greenfield on Photography,” at Pellissippi State Community College.

Greenfield has created signature images for most of the major contemporary dance companies, from Alvin Ailey to American Ballet Theatre. Many of these images can be seen in magazines such as Elle, Vanity Fair, Time and GQ. Her commercial clients include Pepsi, Hanes, Raymond Weil and Sony.

Since Greenfield’s first solo show at New York City’s International Center of Photography, her work has been exhibited at the French Foundation of Photography, The Venice Biennale in Italy, Musée de L’Elysée in Switzerland, Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Israel, and many other museums and galleries around the world.

Lois Greenfield, internationally acclaimed photographer, visits Pellissippi State Community College on Feb. 22 for a free public forum on photography. Pictured are Greenfield’s "Sham Mosher.”

Her best-selling book “Breaking Bounds” (Thames & Hudson, 1992) and her second volume, “Airborne” (1998), have radically redefined the genre and influenced generations of young photographers.

The free public forum, scheduled for 7 p.m., brings Greenfield to the Pellissippi Campus to share her reflections on more than 35 years as a professional photographer. Prior to the forum, Greenfield will visit classes at Pellissippi State to meet with students and discuss photography.

“Lois Greenfield on Photography” takes place in the Goins Building Auditorium. The Pellissippi Campus is located at 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Plenty of free parking is available.

For additional information, call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or