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Dr. Campbell to Deliver Commencement Address
May 5, 2021

Walters State Community College will celebrate 50 years of graduates with two commencement ceremonies on May 8.  
President Emeritus Dr. Jack E. Campbell will return to the college to deliver the commencement address to the graduating class of spring 2021. This spring’s commencement exercises coincide with Walters State’s 50th anniversary celebration.
“Dr. Campbell has probably made the most significant contributions to Walters State during the college’s first 50 years,” said Dr. Tony Miksa, president of Walters State. 
“We are honored for him to deliver this very special commencement address.”
Campbell was named president of Walters State at the age of 35, making him one of the youngest college presidents in the country at that time. The college had been open only four years prior to his appointment.
One of his first and perhaps most significant accomplishments was developing and securing approval for a nursing program, which launched in 1975. It remains one of the nation’s leaders in producing nurses. 
He also established the college’s highly acclaimed Public Safety Program. During his term as president, it became one of the largest public safety programs in the state.
When Campbell joined Walters State, the college had one building. Enrollment was 1.700 students, and the college offered 30 programs. When he retired in 2005, Walters State enrolled over 6,000 degree-seeking students and offered over 80 programs. The college served another 5,000 students through workforce training and noncredit programs. 
In addition to developing the Morristown campus, three additional campus sites were established during Campbell’s tenure: Greeneville, Sevierville and Tazewell. The Walters State Great Smoky Mountains Expo Center (where we are celebrating today) and the college’s East Tennessee Regional Public Safety Center were established while he was president.
Campbell was the first recipient of the Shirly B. Gordon Award of Distinction presented by Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for community colleges. While serving at Walters State, he was named one of the nation’s most effective leaders in higher education by a study funded through the Exxon Education Foundation. He was named East Tennessee State University’s Distinguished Alumnus in Education in 2004. 
Upon his retirement, Campbell was awarded president emeritus status for his distinguished and meritorious service to Walters State and the Tennessee Board of Regents system. 
Walters State will be conferring 776 degrees and certificates in its first in-person ceremony since December 2019. In addition to graduates of spring and summer 2021, individuals participating in the ceremony include students who completed degrees in spring, summer and fall semesters of 2020. 
Ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Great Smoky Mountains Expo Center in White Pine. Both ceremonies will be streamed live on the college’s website, The college will present a separate virtual ceremony, which will premiere at 7 p.m. on May 8.