Category Archives: Community

Pellissippi State celebrates Earth Day with recycled-art exhibit, festivities

In celebration of April 22’s Earth Day 2013, Pellissippi State Community College is hosting a unique art exhibit that is available both in an online gallery and in Pellissippi State’s Bagwell Center for Media and Art. All artwork to be on display is crafted entirely from recycled materials.

There will also be Earth Day festivities at the Hardin Valley Campus on April 19. The exhibit and celebration are free and open to the public.

Pellissippi State students will be joined as exhibiting artists by students from the community who take part in the after-school arts programs of the Knox County Public Defender’s Community Law Office.

The CLO works in conjunction with the Arts Academy and The Zone, both of which are funded by the East Tennessee Foundation, to offer after-school programming to local youth. Students explore various art forms, including art, dance, music, theatre and science. The complete exhibit can be viewed online April 15-19, with selected pieces on “traditional” display on campus during the same dates.

The April 19 celebration takes place 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Hardin Valley Thunder, Pellissippi State’s bluegrass ensemble, performs at noon. There will be information tables, light refreshments and a brief Earth Day welcome by L. Anthony Wise Jr., president of the college.

This year marks the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day. It is estimated that more than one billion people will take part in Earth Day 2013 observances and events worldwide.

Founded in 1970 by Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. senator from Wisconsin who was concerned about a massive 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, Calif., Earth Day is celebrated each April. The first Earth Day witnessed more than 20 million Americans staging rallies and demonstrations to encourage environmental awareness and reforms.

The exhibit is viewable online at and in the lobby of the Bagwell Center, located on the Hardin Valley Campus. Regular building hours are 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

For information about the art display, email To learn more about other Earth Day activities, 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: Randy Boyd honored with statewide philanthropy award

Photo of two men in suits holding a framed photo.
Randy Boyd (L) and Dr. Anthony Wise, Jr. (R)

Randy Boyd, president and CEO of PetSafe, has been honored by Pellissippi State Community College as a recipient of the 2013 Regents Award for Excellence in Philanthropy.

The award, bestowed annually by the Tennessee Board of Regents, recognizes individuals who make a significant impact on higher education in their communities. Boyd was nominated by Pellissippi State, which hosted a breakfast in his honor and presented the award in February.

Boyd’s PetSafe company develops pet behavior, containment, and lifestyle product solutions and services. PetSafe’s headquarters are in Knoxville. Its parent company, Radio Systems Corporation, was founded by Boyd in 1991.

In 2012, Boyd and his wife, Jenny, donated $1 million to the Pellissippi State Foundation. The donation was earmarked to go toward the purchase of Pellissippi State’s new Strawberry Plains Campus. The site began offering classes during the fall 2012 semester.

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

A state program that funded community college capital projects contributed $8.5 million toward the $10 million cost. The Pellissippi State Foundation paid the remaining $1.5 million through private donations.

The addition of the Strawberry Plains Campus, located at 7201 Strawberry Plains Pike in East Knox County, gives Pellissippi State a total of five locations in Knox and Blount counties.

Boyd is involved with local education nonprofit organizations, serving as a board member for organizations such as tnAchieves (chair) and Knox County’s Great Schools Partnership. He has received several awards, including Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year for the Southeast in 2008, Tennessee Business Magazine’s CEO of the Year in 2009 and the University of Tennessee’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2009. Boyd was inducted into Junior Achievement’s East Tennessee Hall of Fame in 2008.

For additional information about Pellissippi State, visit or call (865) 694-6400. To learn more about giving opportunities, call (865) 694-6528 or email

Pellissippi State hosts award-winning poets to celebrate National Poetry Month

Photo of woman looking to left with sunglasses on and resting her chin on her hand.
Poet Marilyn Kallet

Her “Fireflies” poem has been read for listeners by Garrison Keillor, the popular public radio personality.

His first book of poems, “Elegy on Independence Day,” was awarded the prestigious Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize.

Collectively, poets Marilyn Kallet and Arthur Smith have published more than 20 books and have received numerous awards. On April 10, the two are special guests of Pellissippi State Community College, where they will read from selected works as the college celebrates National Poetry Month.

Though their poetic styles differ, Kallet and Smith have much in common. Both are English professors at the University of Tennessee, where Kallet also serves as the director of the Creative Writing Program. And, they both have newly released collections: Kallet’s “The Love That Moves Me” was released this month, and Smith’s “The Fortunate Era” has been available since February.

Kallet, the author of personal essays, translations, and children’s books, has been a featured poet in “Prairie Schooner,” “New Letters,” “Denver Quarterly,” and other publications. In 2010, The New York Times paired her “Fireflies” poem with an environmental story of a firefly research project in its weekly “Poetry Pairing” series.

In addition to her duties at UT, Kallet also teaches poetry workshops in Auvillar, France, for the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

Photo of older man in black turtleneck, with a gray suit jacket and glasses. He also has short hair with a gray goatee and is looking forward and smiling.
Poet Arthur Smith

A Pushcart Prize recipient, Smith has published his poetry in “The New Yorker,” “The Nation,” “The Kenyon Review,” “Hunger Mountain” and other outlets. He is a 1984 recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, a highly competitive fellowship that honors the best among American writers.

Smith’s poetry collections are released through his longtime publisher, Carnegie Mellon University Press. He has served as an English professor at the University of Tennessee since 1986.

National Poetry Month, established in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, takes place each year in April. Organizations around the world celebrate poetry with readings, festivals, workshops, book signings and other special events.

The National Poetry Month event is one component of 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 fines arts. The poetry event is sponsored by Pellissippi State’s English Department.

Readings by Kallet and Smith take place 11:50 a.m.-12:45 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium at the Hardin Valley Campus. Attendance is free. Both poets will conduct a book signing of their newest releases after the event, and books will be available for purchase.

For additional information, call (865) 694-6400 or visit

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

Community invited to Pellissippi State’s Sixth Annual Festival of Cultures

Photo of flower design on the campus floor made out of colored rice.
Rice art from the 2012 Festival of Cultures

There’s only one place where you can sample food from 16 countries and enjoy performances ranging from Brazilian dance and Irish step to Latin music and West African drum.

That place is the Goins Building College Center at the Hardin Valley Campus of Pellissippi State Community College. Members of the community are invited to enjoy the Sixth Annual International Festival of Cultures, a free event celebrating food, music and culture from around the globe.

Slated for Friday, April 12, the event also offers booths and exhibits that showcase international art, clothes, and artifacts by Pellissippi State’s international students. Hours are 4-9:30 p.m., and plenty of free parking is available.

A special feature this year is a display of the work of Russian artist Alex Cherepov in the Goins Building Rotunda. Born in Moscow, Cherepov moved to the U.S. in 1998. His work includes oil paintings, illustrations and animations. There will also be Rangoli floor art on exhibit, as well as Mehndi henna designs by Kajal Patel.

The food samplings, which vary at each year’s festival, include cuisine from the following countries: China, Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominica, France, Greece, India, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Madagascar, Mexico, Poland, Russia and Thailand.

Featured as a special performer is Andrea Moreira, director and choreographer of Dance Brasil Entertainment. Born in Brazil, Moreira began as a professional ballerina before moving to Atlanta in 1993.

She has performed at the 75th anniversary of Atlanta’s Fox Theatre, the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games’ closing ceremony parade, Atlanta Symphony Hall, Delta Airlines’ Carnaval and other events. Moreira was also featured in “Mas Que Nada,” a music video by the Black Eyed Peas and Sérgio Mendes.

Photo of 4 Indian females in blue and red ornamental dresses, dancing on stage.
Indian cultural dance group from 2012 Festival of Cultures

Additional performers include the following: Freddy Vargas and Son Caribe, a local Latin band; Hardin Valley Thunder, Pellissippi State’s bluegrass band; Knoxville Irish Step Dancers, a local dance troupe; an Indian cultural dance group performing the traditional bharatanayam dance; Vine Middle School’s West African Drum and Dance team; and the Tennessee Children’s Dance Ensemble, which will perform Hungarian, Chinese, and Japanese fan dances.

The schedule of events is as follows:

  • 4-4:45 p.m.—Hardin Valley Thunder
  • 5-5:45 p.m.—Vine Middle School’s West African Drum and Dance team
  • 5:15-6:30 p.m.—Tennessee Children’s Dance Ensemble, bharatanayam Indian dance and Knoxville Irish Step Dancers
  • 6:30 p.m.—Start of international cuisine
  • 7:30 p.m.—Andrea Moreira’s Dance Brasil Entertainment
  • 8:30 p.m.—Freddy Vargas and Son Caribe

The Festival of Cultures is one component of 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 additional information about the Sixth Annual International Festival of Cultures or The Arts at Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit

To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or Requests should be made at least two weeks in advance.

Five-year study: Pellissippi State contributes $244 million annually to local economy

Pellissippi State Community College pumped an average of $244 million each year into the local economy during the past five years, a recent study shows.

The 25th annual analysis of the economic impact of the college on the Knox and Blount county area reveals that the value of business volume, jobs and individual income amounted to about $1.22 billion in the 2007-2012 period, or an average of $244 million each year.

Local business volume—the total amount generated locally by businesses from the college’s direct and indirect expenditures—was $589 million for the five-year period, says Fred H. Martin, an educational consultant who completed the study. Of that total, $479 million came from non-local revenues, such as state appropriations, state and federal contracts and grants, and federal and state student financial aid revenues.

Although Pellissippi State had an average of only 477 full-time-equivalent employees per year during the period, the total employment created and sustained by the college’s expenditures was estimated at 40,238 jobs for the five years. Of that number, 32,421 were created by external or new funds.

Using the more conservative of two different calculations, Martin has estimated that the impact of the college’s expenditures on personal income in the area amounted to about $631 million during 2007-2012, of which $523 million came from external or new funds.

Of the college’s $1.22 billion total economic impact, about $1 billion ($200 million each year) can be attributed to the infusion of new non-local revenues.

“This impact would likely not have occurred without the presence of Pellissippi State in the area,” said Martin.

The economic impact study notes that each dollar of local revenue coming into Pellissippi State generated a “return on investment” of around $3.73 in local business volume. The individual income generated ranged from $4.01 to $4.25, for a total return on investment of at least $7.74.

The study also estimates that people who have a two-year associate’s degree can expect to earn about $350,000 more in a lifetime than those who have only a high school diploma. For the most recent class of Pellissippi State graduates, this difference could add up to an additional $386 million in lifetime earnings, plus about $2.1 million in additional annual tax contributions.

The report also describes a number of benefits to society that are proven to accompany higher levels of education.

“The results of this economic impact study clearly demonstrate that Pellissippi State continues to be a major contributor to the economic base of Knox and Blount counties,” Martin said.

Pellissippi State hosting Medic blood drive to help with urgent need

Pellissippi State Community College regularly hosts blood drives with Medic Regional Blood Center, but the event scheduled for March 27 is special in that there is currently an urgent need for O negative blood.

Medic serves Knox County and 19 surrounding counties in the region, providing blood products to multiple hospitals. The organization must collect 350 pints of blood every day of the workweek, even when needs are not at urgent levels, to meet the demand.

Blood and its components are used for transfusions, as well as in the treatment of cancer patients and those with clotting disorders. One donation can help up to three people.

All donors at the upcoming drive will receive a buy-one-get-one-for-50-percent-off entree coupon for Ruby Tuesday. More important, donors will play an instrumental role in keeping the blood supply at necessary levels to serve community members in the East Tennessee region.

Donors must be at least 17 years of age and weigh at least 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 giving blood. 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.-4 p.m. The mobile unit will be parked in the F-1 lot at Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus.

Additional information on the donation process can be found at For more information about Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit

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

Acclaimed novelist David Madden returns to Pellissippi State tomorrow

Author and Knoxville native David Madden returns to Pellissippi State Community College to read from his latest novel, “London Bridge in Plague and Fire,” on Feb. 28. Madden’s reading is scheduled for 2-3 p.m. in the Goins Auditorium at the Hardin Valley Campus.

In the novel, Old London Bridge is as much a living, breathing character as its architect, the priest Peter de Colechurch, who began work on the structure in 1176. With more than 200 houses and shops built directly on it, the bridge was a wonder of the world until it was dismantled in 1832.

“London Bridge in Plague and Fire” tells the story of the bridge and two of the calamities that afflicted its residents. The bridge serves as the story’s backdrop and as a dominating force in the lives of the principal characters.

Madden’s tale is lyrical, complex and often shocking, according to the publisher, the University of Tennessee Press. The novel is also considered his most ambitious and imaginative work.

“It’s a frame story: a story within a story,” said Ed Francisco, a Pellissippi State English professor and writer-in-residence. “[Madden] is prolific, he is protean in his imagination; his imagination goes where ever it wishes and the results are always fascinating.”

Madden read from “London Bridge in Plague and Fire” two weeks ago at the Bijou in Knoxville. Now a resident of Black Mountain, N.C., he returns to Knoxville regularly to share his work. The city also continues to influence his work. In the case of his most recent novel, the Gay Street Bridge served as inspiration.

“The look of Knoxville—its seven hills, like Rome—during the Civil War, there were batteries on all those hills,” Madden said in an interview with “The Read on WNC.”

“By the way, about the origin of ‘London Bridge’— it was Gay Street Bridge in Knoxville. I used to go down there in a trembling sense of excitement [as a youth], and walk across it, skipping over the broken parts, which is right there in ‘London Bridge in Plague and Fire.’”

Pellissippi State hosted Madden when he read from the novel prior to its publication a few years ago.”

His book “Sharpshooter,” a Civil War-era novel set at the Bleak House on Kingston Pike, was adopted as Pellissippi State’s Common Book for the 2007-2008 Common Academic Experience. At that time, Madden made several visits to the college, giving readings and talking with young writers. He also gave the first and only dramatic reading from “Abducted by Circumstance,” when it was still a work-in-progress.

Madden’s best-known novel, “The Suicide’s Wife,” was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and made into a CBS movie, but he is most known in the Knoxville area for “Bijou” and “Sharpshooter,” also nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

For more information about this event, contact Francisco at (865) 694-6744.

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

Pellissippi State hosts April 20 Dough Dash 5K Run/Fun Walk for Scholarships

Whether you’re interested in running against the clock or simply enjoying a spring morning walk, by participating in the April 20 Dough Dash 5K Run/Fun Walk for Scholarships at Pellissippi State Community College, you’ll also be raising money to support students.

The Alumni Association-hosted 5K run/fun walk serves as a fundraiser for the Pellissippi State Foundation’s General Scholarship Fund. The event is part of the Run and See Tennessee Grand Prix, which encourages runners to compete in races throughout Tennessee and bordering states.

Dough Dash provides the opportunity for participants to run a 5K course or walk up to one mile. Medallions will be awarded in the categories of Male/Female Top Three Overall, Male/Female Top Master and Grandmaster, and Three Deep Male/Female in various age groups.

The event begins at Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus. The 5K and fun walk courses consist of an on-campus asphalt trail, and the 5K continues on scenic off-campus back roads. The run and walk end on the campus, located at 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Pkwy. in Friendsville.

Early registration is $20 per participant and continues through April 6. Those who register after April 6, including on event day, pay $25. Dough Dash begins at 8 a.m., and onsite registration is 7-7:30 a.m. No refunds will be given.

Participants may register online or by mail. To register online, go to To register by mail, print out the entry form at and mail it with your payment to Pellissippi State Alumni Association, P.O. Box 22990, 10915 Hardin Valley Rd., Knoxville 37933-0990.

Those who plan to take part in the 5K run and want tips on how to train are invited to join the free Couch to 5K Program, offered by Pellissippi State’s Student Recreation Center. Participants will receive training tools each week leading up to the event via email, Twitter and Facebook.

For additional information on the Dough Dash or Couch to 5K Program, contact the Alumni Relations office at (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 Requests should be made at least two weeks in advance.

Pellissippi State hosts Feb. 6 ‘Healthy Pelli’ Workshops

A host of free health-check workshops are available to the community Wednesday, Feb. 6, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Pellissippi State Community College’s Magnolia Avenue Campus.

The “Healthy Pelli” workshops are 30 minutes each and cover dental health, breast health, drug abuse, dating violence and teen pregnancy, nutrition, environmental health, and fitness and exercise.

Participants are also eligible to win a prize provided by the Rush Fitness Complex: a free one-month membership, plus one free session with a personal trainer.

In addition, several types of free screenings are available throughout the four-hour event. Screenings include gonorrhea/chlamydia testing, HIV testing (requiring no blood and offering results in 20 minutes) and kidney health-risk assessment. Chair massages are also ongoing. Plenty of free health information is available to pickup as well.

The campus is located at 1610 E. Magnolia Ave.

For additional information, call (865) 329-3100. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or

Pellissippi State hosts competition for young inventors

Attention, science teachers: Tell your students that Saturday, Feb. 23, is the big day.

Pellissippi State Community College is hosting the second annual Inventors’ Fair for middle, high school and, for the first time ever, college students. The event is 9 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Goins Building College Center on the Hardin Valley Campus.

The fair is hosted by the Pellissippi State Science Club. It’s sure to be fun and educational for students. Parents are also invited to attend.

“There are many students around our communities who have great ideas that may otherwise go unrecognized,” said Jerry Burns, who teaches chemistry at the college and is the club sponsor. “We want to reward innovation.”

Students may bring projects they’ve created for school science fairs and enter them in the Pellissippi State competition. Three winners in the middle-school bracket and three in the high-school level will be selected. Winners receive cash prizes of $10, $20 and $30.

Area college students are invited to enter their own inventions in the brand-new college-age category. Prizes will be awarded in that category, too.

Each entrant receives feedback from Pellissippi State science students and faculty members. That feedback is especially valuable for students who decide to enter their projects in the April 1-4 Southern Appalachian Science and Engineering Fair at the University of Tennessee. Three students from each bracket will be awarded the $10 entrance fee to compete in the SASEF.

In addition to competing on the 23rd, students will have the chance to enjoy some science fun, as Pellissippi State Science Club members assist them with entertaining experiments and demonstrations.

“Last year the students had such a great time making their own ice cream and watching all the experiments,” said Lee Beckner, Science Club president. “I think they took a new appreciation of science away with them, and I hope that it stays with them and they become the great minds of our future.”

For more information on the Inventors’ Fair, call (865) 694-6400 or email Burns at or beckner at

To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or Requests should be made at least two weeks in advance.