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Celebrate Pellissippi State’s alumni award winners April 2

Regina Jennings headshot spring 2024
Regina Jennings will be honored April 2 with Pellissippi State’s Distinguished Alumni Award for 2024.

Pellissippi State Community College will celebrate two of its outstanding alumni at the Pellissippi Strong Luncheon on April 2.  

The event, presented by FirstBank and hosted by Tearsa Smith of WATE-TV, will be held 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, at the Hilton Knoxville Airport, 2001 Alcoa Highway, Alcoa. Individual tickets for the program and lunch are $50, and proceeds benefit the college’s Greatest Need Fund.   

You can purchase tickets or select levels of sponsorship here.   

In addition to a keynote by Dr. Keith Gray, president of the University of Tennessee Medical Center, the Pellissippi Strong Luncheon will feature the awarding of the college’s two highest alumni awards. The Distinguished Alumni Award, announced by FirstBank, highlights an outstanding graduate in recognition of significant professional achievement and service to the community, while the Peggy Wilson Volunteer Alumni Award, sponsored by Clayton, highlights an outstanding graduate in recognition of extraordinary service to the Pellissippi State community.    

The 2024 Distinguished Alumni Award will be presented to Regina Jennings, Class of 1983. A Blount County native, Jennings has been in banking for 38 years and currently serves as senior vice president of Pinnacle Financial Partners in Maryville. Her service to Blount County has been long and varied, including the United Way of Blount County board, where she was awarded Best of the Best Board Member of the Year for 2023, and past president of the Kiwanis Club of Maryville, where she served as a past committee chair for the club’s work with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Jennings still works on finding funding sources for Imagination Library so that all eligible children in Blount County will have books to call their own. 

“The heart of Regina’s commitment lies in her extensive service to the community, which is far reaching and impacting hundreds of lives – and shining a light on her Pellissippi State degree wherever she goes,” said Blount County Campus Dean Anna Graham, who nominated Jennings for the Distinguished Alumni Award. “Regina’s active promotion of the college within the community serves to attract attention, support and respect for Pellissippi State. Through her ongoing efforts, she ensures that the institution’s positive impact is not confined to the campuses but resonates throughout the broader community, contributing to its growth and reputation.” 

Nicholas Galloway headshot spring 2024
Nicholas Galloway will receive Pellissippi State’s Peggy Wilson Volunteer Alumni Award on April 2.

Nicholas Galloway, Class of 2021, has been named Pellissippi State’s Peggy Wilson Volunteer Alumni Award winner for 2024. Galloway was Pellissippi State’s first Water Quality Technology student to be hired full time and to pass the rigorous Grade III certification exam for wastewater treatment, which is four hours long. His career has advanced quickly, and he currently serves as the Wastewater Treatment Plant Chief Operator for the Tellico Reservoir Development Agency. In 2022, Galloway was highlighted in a National Science Foundation video to showcase Pellissippi State’s Water Quality Technology program, and he currently serves on the program’s advisory board and attends events with industry partners to help promote the program. 

“Nick has come to campus more times than I can remember to help with recruiting new students and to help with lab demonstrations,” said Assistant Professor Cristina Carbajo, who nominated him for the award. “He is a recurring guest lecturer for my Wastewater I and Wastewater II classes. He has also served as a mentor for students still in the program, helping them with job advice and interview tips, and as a tutor helping students with the math concepts unique to this field.” 

For more information about the Pellissippi Strong Luncheon, visit