For Immediate Release

June 30, 2003

For information contact: Kimberly Stark, (901) 333-4023, Marilyn Duncan (901) 333-4247 or
Patsy Anderson, (901) 333-5970

Gill Center Director Takes Americanism and Community Service to New Heights

With the upcoming Fourth of July holiday this country’s independence and what it means to be an American is foremost on the minds of many Americans. While that’s true of Patsy Anderson, director of Southwest Tennessee Community College’s Gill Center, she shows her love of this country and ideas of Americanism every day.

Anderson, the daughter of a veteran of World War II, has taken her role as an American seriously by constantly becoming more active in her local community and in the Mid-South. One of the newest roles she has accepted is incoming president of the Frayser Exchange Club. On July 3 she will be inducted at a ceremony at Jerry Jr’s Crossroad Café at 4040 N. Watkins.

The Exchange Club focuses on several major principles; Americanism, community service, and youths, with a particular emphasis on child abuse. The activities of the Exchange Club are designed to meet the needs of local communities as well as preserve and strengthen the principles that make America great.

Anderson strives daily to merge her work at the Gill Center and its focus on educating the local community with her duties at the Exchange Club. As the incoming president, she plans to work with local high school students to put into place a youth of the month/year competition. The competitors would be local students who submit essays about Americanism. The winner each month, as well as the yearly winner, would be awarded a savings bond for their educational efforts.

“Children are our future,” said Anderson. “We have to work towards enabling them to get the most out of their education.” Many of the students at the Gill Center are the first in their family to attend college.

“One of the Exchange Club’s projects in the past two years has been a book scholarship fund for students at Gill,” Anderson said. For some students the cost of books for their higher education classes could be the deciding factor in not only the number of hours they take, but if they take classes at all.

By helping improve the community around the Gill Center, Anderson has also improved the center and school as a whole. “When we opened (Gill Center) we had 86 students,” she said. “In the last nine semesters we have increased our total enrollment to 1,200.” The center has seen a 45 percent enrollment increase in the past year.

Anderson said she plans on continuing to work to better all forms of education and the community in the Frayser area. She has joined several of the neighborhood associations and other community-based organizations in the area. These efforts help raise the level of knowledge in the community as to what Southwest Tennessee Community College offers the Mid-South and what the Gill Center can offer the Frayser area.

Southwest, Tennessee’s largest two-year college, serves more than 12,000 students in Memphis, Shelby and Fayette counties, and the Tri-State area.

Southwest offers 39 programs for career studies and transfer degrees, 37 two-year programs leading to immediate career entry through the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree, and over 40 areas of interest in traditional university transfer programs through the Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree and the Associate of Science (A.S.) degree.

In addition, Southwest offers Academic Certificate and Technical Certificate Programs in 28 areas, usually completed in no more than one year, that prepare students for immediate entry positions in high-demand, specialized fields.

Southwest, a Tennessee Board of Regents institution, is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.