Category Archives: Community

DENSO, Pellissippi State partner on classroom automation equipment

Row of males and females standing in a line
DENSO North America Foundation presented a $50,000 check to Pellissippi State Community College officials during a ceremony and tour Wednesday, Aug. 21, on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus. The grant will be used to purchase programmable controller training systems, a robotic arm training station with software and motor training equipment for the newest Engineering Technology concentration, Automated Industrial Systems. Pictured from left are Kenneth Swayne, Engineering Technology faculty, Pellissippi State; Robyn Blair and Sara Harris, DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee representatives; Carl Mallette, Engineering Technology; Brian Crawford, DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee; Peggy Wilson, executive director, Pellissippi State Foundation; Pat Riddle, Engineering Technology; L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president; Dennis Hopkins, vice president, DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee; and Ted Lewis, vice president, Academic Affairs, Pellissippi State.

After more than 20 years of collaboration, Pellissippi State Community College and DENSO North America Foundation are joining forces once again, this time to help provide new equipment to students studying Automated Industrial Systems at the college.

Automated Industrial Systems is a new concentration in the Engineering Technology program that launches at Pellissippi State this fall. Students who graduate in Engineering Technology earn an Associate of Applied Science degree.

Representatives from DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee presented a $50,000 check on behalf of the DENSO North America Foundation to the Pellissippi State Foundation during a ceremony at the school’s Hardin Valley Campus Wednesday, Aug. 21. The donation will apply toward the purchase of programmable controller training systems, a robotic arm training station with software and motor training equipment.

“The partnership between DENSO and Pellissippi State is one that benefits both our students and DENSO employees,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president, “as, together, we strive to provide great education and technological training both on the job and in the classroom.”

group of males and females looking at computer and equipment

“For the auto industry to continue to advance, we need to further develop and invest in students’ technological skills—that’s what we hope to accomplish with Pellissippi State and this grant,” said Mike Brackett, DENSO Foundation board member and senior vice president of Corporate Services at DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee.

“At DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee, we specialize in robot design and programming and now have more than 800 robots on our production lines. Automation will continue to be critical in the future of DENSO and our automotive customers, meaning we need talented and knowledgeable people in this area.”

The equipment will be similar to that used in DENSO and other manufacturing settings where much of the automation is controlled by computer. With the robotic arm and programmable controller training systems, Pellissippi State students will learn relevant and technologically advanced techniques used in engineering technology and manufacturing.

“In order for students to be ready to go to work, we must continue to integrate newer technology into our training programs,” said Wise. “This cutting-edge equipment will be used for our new and existing engineering technology, workforce training, and STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] awareness programs.”

“Our partnership with DENSO is a win-win relationship,” said Peggy Wilson, executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation. “Support from donors like DENSO helps the college provide its students the best education possible, and when those students graduate, they bring to employers the knowledge business and industry need to succeed.”

To learn more about Pellissippi State giving opportunities, call the Foundation at (865) 694-6528 or email For more information on Engineering Technology and other academic offerings, call Pellissippi State at (865) 694-6400 or visit



The DENSO North America Foundation was established in January 2001 to support the advancement of higher education in science, math, engineering and related business programs through grant-making to colleges and universities throughout North America. A priority is given to programs that demonstrate technological innovation and advance automotive engineering.

DENSO Corporation, headquartered in Kariya, Aichi prefecture, Japan, is a leading global automotive supplier of advanced technology, systems and components in the areas of thermal, powertrain control, electric, electronics, information and safety. Its customers include all the world’s major carmakers. Consolidated global sales for the fiscal year ending March 31 totaled U.S. $38.1 billion. In North America, DENSO employs more than 17,000 people, with consolidated sales totaling U.S. $6.8 billion for the fiscal year ending March 31.

‘A Celebration of Baskets’ exhibit at Pellissippi State starts Sept. 23

Swing Handle Market Basket - Artist Susan Mowan
Swing Handle Market Basket – Artist Susan Mowan

Weave your way to the Bagwell Center for Media and Art at Pellissippi State Community College and gain a new appreciation of an Appalachian heritage craft, basket weaving.

“A Celebration of Baskets” by the Foothills Craft Guild Basket Weavers is on display at the Bagwell Gallery Sept. 23-Oct. 15, with an opening reception 3-5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24. The event is free, and the community is invited. The gallery is located on the Hardin Valley Campus.

“The Foothills Craft Guild exhibit will present original work created by guild members, along with examples of work done by a special guest,” said Jennifer Brickey, an art instructor at Pellissippi State. “A Celebration of Baskets” features the work of Pam Parham, a Shaker-basket weaver from Sevierville.

According to Virgil Davis, a Pellissippi State adjunct faculty member and also a guild member, the basket exhibit pays homage to a timeless Appalachian craft, as well as introduces traditional and modern weaving techniques.

2 baskets on a table
Traditional Nantucket basket – Artist Susan Mowan

Like Parham, Davis creates Shaker baskets. Whether baskets, furniture or architecture, Shaker style is intended for longevity and usefulness. The display includes not only Shaker pieces but also nesting baskets, Nantuckets with solid wood bases and lids, and Appalachian berry baskets, which were traditionally made quickly, on site, from carved poplar bark.

Heritage basketry is joined in the exhibit by more modern creations. The display is meant to encourage visitors to be conscious of space and enclosures and to find beauty in everyday items.

“A Celebration of Baskets” is one of the events that make up Pellissippi State’s arts series, “The Arts at Pellissippi State.” The series brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts.

For more information about The Arts at Pellissippi State, contact Pellissippi State at (865) 694-6400 or visit To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or

High school seniors invited to enter Pellissippi State photography contest

A $500 scholarship is the prize awaiting one aspiring young photojournalist, portraitist or even Instagrammer as winner of the Horizons 2013 Photography Contest.

Horizons 2013, presented by Pellissippi State Community College, is open to high school seniors in Knox and Blount counties. It’s free to enter.

The winner of “Best Photograph” earns a $500 scholarship to attend Pellissippi State. Each of the top 10 winners receives a $50 award. In addition, winning entries will be displayed on the Pellissippi State Horizons 2013 website and will be announced to local media.

The deadline for entries is Friday, Oct. 11. Only one entry per person is permitted.

“Horizons is an opportunity for high school students and their families to get a look at Pellissippi State and see all that we can offer to aspiring artists,” said John Edwin May, an assistant professor in Engineering and Media Technologies.

“Student photographers will have the opportunity to have their work displayed on campus and judged by a panel of faculty and community members, plus they’ll be able to explore Pellissippi State’s campus, meet the Art faculty and college administrators, and get a glimpse of the college art experience.”

All types of photographs are eligible for entry—including black-and-white, color, non-silver and computer-manipulated. To be considered, the photograph must be uploaded in JPEG format, be appropriate labeled, and meet color, sizing, and compression requirements. For a full list of entry specifications, visit

Entries will be judged on creativity, uniqueness of subject matter, composition and overall impact. Judges will include Pellissippi State Photography and Art faculty and community advisory board members.

All submitted work will be on display Nov. 11-15 in the gallery of the Bagwell Center for Media and Art on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus. An artist reception takes place at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, in the Bagwell Gallery.

Winners will be announced during a ceremony set for 7 p.m. Nov. 12, in the Clayton Performing Arts Center, also on the Hardin Valley Campus. Artists must be present to win.

For more information or to submit an entry, visit

Pellissippi State recognizes Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Male in suit at table with paper on desk and pen in hand. 3 females are standing behind him.
Pellissippi State Community College President L. Anthony Wise Jr. signs a proclamation Thursday, Aug. 29, naming September as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month on all Pellissippi State campuses. Joining him, from left, are College counselors Lisa Orient, Elizabeth Firestone and Kathleen Douthat.

Pellissippi State Community College has named September as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month at all of its five campuses. President L. Anthony Wise Jr. signed the official proclamation on Thursday.

According to the Jed Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting emotional health and preventing suicide among college students, one in 10 college students has contemplated suicide at some point.

Suicide is now the third leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds and is the second leading cause among college-age students. Approximately 1,100 college students die by suicide each year.

“We want Pellissippi State students to be successful and hopeful,” said Wise. “Every student should know that our faculty and staff are here to help support them.”

As part of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, Pellissippi State counselors will offer programming designed to teach students how to recognize behaviors associated with vulnerability, depression and suicide contemplation.

In addition, counselors will visit classrooms by faculty request to facilitate question-persuade-refer training. QPR is designed to prevent suicide by providing support to the person in need.

“Mental illnesses are real, diagnosable and treatable,” said Elizabeth Firestone, director of Counseling at Pellissippi State. “More important, treatment of mental illnesses works—there is hope for recovery. Students who are feeling stressed, depressed or having suicidal thoughts can contact Counseling and find help.”

Pellissippi State joins the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network in its recognition of September as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The network is a collaboration of Tennesseans and organizations working to eliminate the stigma of suicide, educate the community about the warning signs and ultimately reduce the rate of suicide in the state.

For more information about Pellissippi State’s Counseling Office, call (865) 694-6547 or visit

National aquarist addresses ocean pollutants at Pellissippi State lecture

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Beyond its size—by some estimates twice that of the continental U.S.—there’s nothing “great” about this swirling flotsam of plastics, chemical sludge and other debris.

Katie Williams, an aquarist at the National Aquarium in Washington, D.C., addresses the ocean-borne garbage dump and related pollutants by invitation of the Sustainable Campus Initiative at Pellissippi State Community College in September. The topic is plastics and their role in the health and future of oceans and other major waterways.

Williams’ lecture, “Plastics and Waste Reduction: An Oceans and Wildlife Perspective,” is 10:45-11:45 a.m., Friday, Sept. 27, in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus. The event is free and the public is invited.

“Education is important to build awareness of what it will take to ensure the continuation of these species in our oceans that are threatened by pollution,” said Karen Lively, the college’s sustainable campus coordinator. “Even in landlocked areas, we affect that pollution.”

“The same waste reduction efforts used globally can be related to protecting the wildlife in and around local watersheds like the Tennessee River,” said Judy Sichler, an anthropology instructor at Pellissippi State.

During her lecture, Williams will show the visual reminders of plastic pollution in our oceans and major waterways, including images of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, beach destruction and the effects of microplastic.

Williams graduated with a degree in marine biology from the University of Tennessee and has worked for Sea World, the National Aquarium in Baltimore and the National Aquarium in Washington.

The lecture is tied in to the Sustainable Campus Initiative’s theme for September, plastics and waste reduction. Pellissippi State also will host a viewing of “Tapped,” a documentary film examining the bottled water industry. The event takes place at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, in the Goins Building Auditorium.

The community is invited to enjoy the free film and popcorn.

For additional information about the Sustainable Campus Initiative’s September events, call Lively at (865) 539-7364 or visit To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or

Pellissippi State faculty member featured in New York Times March on Washington retrospective

Robert Boyd, an associate professor of English at Pellissippi State Community College, was featured last week in a New York Times article commemorating the March on Washington in 1963.

The 50th anniversary of the event, which included the now-famous “I Have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King Jr., is today, Aug. 28.

According to “Pass the Bill,” Boyd’s written account of the march, he was called upon as a New York City fireman to guard the Lincoln Memorial area.

“My job was to make sure Martin was safe,” he wrote in the Times, “so I was paying attention to my job. Consequently what I remember from the speech was more about the crowd than him.…

“I remember the impact it had on people, the audience. When he started to speak, there was silence. Thousands and thousands of people, and not a word. And then when he finished, it was an uproar, a crescendo, and this joyous noise. Then I realized, this is something.”

Before the pivotal event, Boyd wrote, “I had no idea about the march, or anything about the civil rights movement at all…. And I tell you, it changed me.… It ignited something in me that has lasted forever. Will always last.”

The 80-year-old Boyd recounts his involvement in starting the “Pass the bill!” call for civil rights legislation through the Washington Mall that day, as well as his later activism in the community and term as president of the Flushing (N.Y.) NAACP.

“Robert was selected by The New York Times to serve as a witness to history,” wrote L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president, in an emailed notice of the Times piece to faculty and staff.

“His story is a timely reminder of how events change lives and how people change communities. I am grateful to Bob for his service to our country and this College.”

To see the complete New York Times article, link here.

Service-Learning partnerships: Pellissippi State to break ground for Pond Gap community garden

Pellissippi State Community College’s Service-Learning program is planting the seeds for the spread of college-sponsored community gardens on the grounds of Knox County Schools.

Pellissippi State’s first garden project, part of a larger effort in Knox County to help students and communities succeed, gets under way this fall at Pond Gap Elementary School. Pond Gap is located near the college’s Division Street Campus, off Sutherland Avenue.

“A community garden project like this is all about the natural neighborhood revitalization that can come by inviting schoolchildren, their families and community college students to work together on quality service projects,” said Annie Gray. Gray is coordinator of Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning program and an English professor.

Pond Gap Elementary is Knox County Schools’ pilot project for the Community Schools Initiative. The initiative is one component of a national movement designed to strengthen schools, families, neighborhoods and communities.

Community Schools participants integrate traditional academics with community engagement to help students learn, support students’ families and promote healthy living. One aspect of the effort is to make schools, including Pond Gap,­ into community hubs by opening them for extended hours for outside programs and events.

“The Pond Gap neighborhood is very diverse. Children of 35 different nationalities attend Pond Gap, and a large percentage of their families live at or below the poverty level,” said Gray.

“It’s a challenging area, but also an ideal one for piloting a project that unites neighborhood families, the elementary school, and the college; that cuts across cultural differences to encourage relationships and teach new skills; and that inspires higher education.”

The Pond Gap pilot is overseen by the University of Tennessee. Gray is working closely with Bob Kronick, UT’s director of the University-Assisted Community School program, and Mark Benson, UACS program coordinator, on the community garden effort.

The Service-Learning project, titled “You Are What You Eat: The Edible Schoolyard Project,” is taking advantage of an AmeriCorps VISTA grant to jump-start the venture, plan and build the garden, and staff it with a full-time AmeriCorps volunteer for its inaugural year. Initial plans are to use existing space to complete a small garden by fall, with a larger, more comprehensive spring garden planned. The project’s AmeriCorps volunteer is Matt Callo.

“Pellissippi State students will be part of the volunteer process,” said Gray. “They’ll work in the garden or with Pond Gap schoolchildren, and might take part in workshops offered to the community on topics like balcony gardening or gardening on a budget.

“There are all sorts of curricular tie-ins for Pond Gap students, who can, at minimum, receive valuable math and science lessons from participating in the life of the garden.”

According to Gray, Pellissippi State plans to use the Pond Gap experience as a model for starting gardens at other community schools and eventually to offer an urban gardening certification program to college students. The initial year of the Pellissippi State project at Pond Gap will be used not only to build the garden but also to establish processes, locate sustainable revenue sources and network with other community garden efforts. Once those processes are in place, Pellissippi State will approach another community school for a similar partnership.

Now in its third year, Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning program allows students and faculty to integrate meaningful community service and reflection with more traditional learning experiences, teaching civic responsibility and strengthening communities. The garden project also supports the community service placement of 1,000 tnAchieves scholars at Pellissippi State, all of whom must complete eight hours of volunteering in the community each semester.

For more information about the community garden at Pond Gap Elementary School, call Pellissippi State at (865) 694-6400 or email

Pellissippi State puts out cast call for ‘Robber Bridegroom’ bluegrass musical

Bring your musical instruments and singing voices to Pellissippi State Community College. Community-wide auditions get under way the end of this month for “The Robber Bridegroom,” Broadway’s hit bluegrass musical.

Auditions are open to everyone. They take place 7-9 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 28-29, in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus.

“The Robber Bridegroom” will be presented “Doyle style,” with actors playing instruments and singing throughout. For auditions, performers should bring their own instruments, if possible, to accompany their vocal tryouts.

The play is told in “story theatre” fashion—in a style that lies somewhere between storytelling and an acted-out play. Nine principal actors will appear on a unit set, thus providing extreme flexibility in staging and production and allowing each actor his or her moment to shine. The musical includes a score by composer Robert Waldman to be played by a small onstage band.

Rehearsals are Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 7-10:30 p.m., as well as occasional Wednesday evenings.

“The Robber Bridegroom” is a rousing, bawdy Southern fairy tale set in 18th-century Mississippi. The play tells the story of Rosamund, the only daughter of the richest planter in the county, and her courting by rascally robber Jamie Lockhart.

Affairs go awry by way of an unconventional case of double-mistaken identity, compounded by the machinations of an evil stepmother intent on Rosamund’s demise, a pea-brained henchman and a hostile talking head in a trunk.

The play includes one of the first genuine bluegrass scores ever heard in a Broadway musical, giving this unusual tale a distinctive sound reminiscent of the Natchez Trace Band. “The Robber Bridegroom” book and lyrics are by Alfred Uhry, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Driving Miss Daisy.” The story is based on a 1942 novella of the same name by Eudora Welty.

Pellissippi State presents “The Robber Bridegroom” at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Nov. 1-2 and 8-9. Additional performances are set for 2 p.m. Sundays, Nov. 3 and 10.

For more information, call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State, American Heart Association host August nursing conference

Pellissippi State Community College and the American Heart Association will co-host the inaugural Nurse Symposium at Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus on Aug. 8. The theme of the event is “Care for Those Who Give Care.”

“We know that nurses are one of our most valued treasures,” said Pat Myers, director of community outreach and donor engagement at Pellissippi State. “This symposium is a way to both honor them and share learning tools that are vital for better health—better health not only for those who work in the medical field but for all of us.”

The symposium is 9 a.m.-4 p.m. in the Goins Administration Building. Here is the event schedule in brief:

  • 9-11:30 a.m.—Registration, vendor exhibits/screenings and mini-sessions
  • 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m.—Lunch
  • 12:45-1:45 p.m.—Keynote speaker and demonstrations presented by Laerdal Medical
  • 2-4 p.m.—Breakout sessions (30 minutes each, running concurrently throughout the afternoon; applicable for continuing education units)

Registration is $10 and includes lunch, an exhibit area with information, and various medical screenings. The event has several key partners, including Covenant Health, East Tennessee Heart Consultants, Tennova Healthcare and the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

To register, as either a participant or a vendor, visit or call (865) 539-7242.

Carter High School to host ‘Registration Days’ for Pellissippi State

Pellissippi State Community College is reaching out to community members in East Knox County through its newly opened Strawberry Plains Campus and will host summer registration days for prospective college students at Carter High School.

“‘Registration Days’ at Carter High School will be an opportunity for anyone interested in registering for fall 2013 classes at Pellissippi State to apply, work with a Financial Aid representative and register for classes,” said Mike North, Strawberry Plains campus dean.

“Anyone interested in enrollment at Pellissippi State can come to one of the two registration days we will offer at Carter High School—you don’t have to be a Carter graduate. Interested high school graduates, adult learners or transfer students from other institutions can come on July 10 or 24 to get help with applying to Pellissippi State, financial aid, placement testing, or registration.”

Registration Days takes place 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Wednesday, July 10, and Wednesday, July 24. Pellissippi State staff from the Admissions, Financial Aid and Advising offices will be on hand to assist prospective students. Students can even take a placement test on site.

This is the first time a Pellissippi State registration event has been staged at a community high school.

“This is a new initiative for the college,” said North. “The Strawberry Plains Campus will close for several renovation projects and will not be able to provide enrollment services until it reopens later this summer.

“Carter High School is close to Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus, and people in and around the community are familiar with the location.”

No reservation or registration is required. Interested students may walk in at any time July 10 or 24 and find assistance.

For more information, call the Strawberry Plains Campus at (865) 225-2300 or the Hardin Valley Campus at (865) 694-6400.