Athletic quad named for longtime Northeast State administrator

An outdoor athletic complex at Northeast State Community College now bears the name of the man who helped build it.
Northeast State unveiled the naming of the college’s outdoor athletic facility as the Patrick H. Sweeney Tennis Courts on July 31 at the main campus.

“I am humbled and overwhelmed to receive this honor,” said Sweeney, who retired from Northeast State in June after 37 years. “Northeast State is a special place, and I count myself fortunate to have been part of it for so long.”

The Tennessee Board of Regents approved a nomination submitted by the Northeast State building committee to name the athletic grounds in honor of the longtime administrator.  Sweeney initiated a plan in 2003 to construct outdoor tennis courts and athletic space on campus to provide physical education facilities for students.  He often recruited faculty and students for friendly tennis competitions during the summer months.

Sweeney’s influence at Northeast State extends beyond tennis. When he arrived in 1972 the institution was known as Tri-Cities State Area Vocational-Technical School. 

As the institution evolved from its humble beginnings with less than 100 students enrolled to more than 5,400 today, Sweeney played an instrumental role in promoting growth and development.  He served as a counselor in the Student Services area, director of Admissions, dean of Student Services, associate vice president for Student Affairs, and special assistant to the President.  He also directed streamlining measures of the registration process, development of student organizations and activities, and helped create the Advising Center, Student Success Center, and office of Student Health Services.

“It has never been a job, always an adventure and privilege, to serve students and see the College grow,” said Sweeney. “To see Northeast State evolve over the years from a small technical school to a college, and to be a contributor to that development, was an extraordinary experience.”

As a student-minded administrator, Sweeney’s main focus was developing and improving college processes in order to encourage student and staff engagement and foster student success.  He worked with all four past presidents of the institution: James Pierce, James Owen, Wade Powers, and Bill Locke.

“Pat Sweeney’s knowledge of higher education and dedication has benefited Northeast State’s students and the community in countless ways,” said Locke, president emeritus of Northeast State. “Today’s event represents a small token of the esteem he deserves for his dedication.”

An Elizabethton native, Sweeney studied as an undergraduate at Furman University and graduated with his bachelor’s degree from East Tennessee State University. He later earned his master’s degree in political science from ETSU and completed post-graduate work at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Before coming to Northeast State, Sweeney was news director at WJHL-TV in Johnson City.
Sweeney has been active in community service, coaching Little League baseball, youth basketball, youth football, and softball.  He and his wife, Joyce, have guided three children through youth and graduation from college. He enjoys his four grandchildren, golf, tennis, and travel.

“The Northeast State family remains in my heart for life,” said Sweeney, “and that will never end.”


Six Sigma Black Belt training starts Aug. 4 at Northeast State

The Institute for Business & Industry Services of Northeast State Community College is sponsoring a Six Sigma Black Belt training course beginning Tuesday, Aug. 4, on the College’s main campus at Blountville, 2425 Highway 75, adjacent to Tri-Cities Regional Airport.

The course is designed for anyone leading Six Sigma deployment in manufacturing, healthcare, banking, and retail or anyone participating in Six Sigma project work. Class sessions will combine lecture and hands-on study with each participant being mentored on individual project work.

Most course sessions will meet on Tuesdays or Thursdays from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. The class also requires eight day sessions.  Those classes will meet from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Students completing the course will learn Six Sigma methodology and be prepared to earn the Black Belt designation.  The class uses the best training materials available for students to master elements such as Project Selection, Measurement System Analysis, Basic Stats, Inferential Stats, Hypothesis Testing, Design of Experiments, and Control Plans.

Upon course completion and passing of a comprehensive exam, participants will receive a certificate of completion from Northeast State.  Participants can earn Black Belt certification status by completing a qualifying project and passing a certification exam.

The course instructors are Six Sigma professionals with combined experience in the chemical, pharmaceutical, defense, healthcare and automotive industries.  The course fee includes all textbooks. Participants are required to purchase a full version of Minitab 15 prior to the class.  The course registration deadline is July 24.

For information or assistance with registration, call Cindy Tauscher at 423.354.2570 or e-mail cmtauscher@NortheastState.edu.