Letter from the Foundation Chair, Lee Shillito

It is with great pleasure I share the accomplishments of the Northeast State Community College Foundation in the 2011-12 academic year.  First of all, I am honored to become the Chair of the Foundation and eager to continue my support of Northeast State.  Dwight Ferguson, our most recent past chair, has made it easy to step into this role because he did such an exemplary job of organizing, advocating and supporting our Foundation.  It is because of his due diligence that I graciously accept this position.

The Northeast State Foundation had a very successful year.  Below, I think, are the top three accolades from the 2011-12 academic year:

  • More than doubled annual giving
  • Created over 20 new scholarships
  • Increased faculty and staff giving from 28% to 56%

As a business owner in manufacturing, I am well aware of the need for skilled labor.  Through the Foundation, we are able to help students obtain a degree and directly enter the workforce.  I’ve witnessed Northeast State’s growth over the years, and it continues to lead the efforts in strategic partnerships, economic development and obviously, educating our region. 

In the last few years, all Tennessee Board of Regents schools have gone from state-supported (60/40) to state-assisted (40/60).  Now more than ever, it is crucial to secure additional private funds and partnerships to maintain the current levels of excellence. No longer can we rely on state funds to operate the College, and we definitely do not need to transfer this burden to the students.  Thankfully, we have a generous region that understands the long-term effects of education our region.

The Foundation hosted its first ever Because of You Campaign in October 2011.  In just a few short weeks, they increased faculty and staff giving from 28% to 56%.  What an amazing feat!  It is said that quality organizations are built from the inside out, and it is clear that Northeast State’s employees are committed to bettering the lives all their students!

It is an honor to work with the Foundation and the leadership at Northeast State Community College, and I look forward to continuing our efforts to help students achieve their goals.

We’re Changing Lives!



Lee Shillito

Northeast State Foundation Chair, 2012-13