Southwest Tennessee Community College

For Immediate Release

Date: March 11, 2009

For More Information: Brenda J. Rayner, (901) 333-4247


First Tennessee Foundation Establishes New Scholarship at Southwest

Representatives of the charitable division of First Tennessee Bank presented Southwest President Nathan Essex with a $15,000 donation to establish the First Tennessee Business and Commerce Endowment Scholarship.

The new scholarship will offer financial assistance to current and future students of Southwest who have an interest in the banking and finance industry.

"I think Southwest is filling a vital need in our community to give people a chance for better careers, which is life-changing for the graduates and for our city," said Penny Aviotti, community development manager for the First Tennessee Foundation. "I read a study that said if we could increase the number of people in Memphis who graduate from college by one percent; it would mean an additional $1 billion annually to our economy."

Aviotti added that, as a parent, she also has a personal interest in the growth and success of the college. "I have a son here, and I have seen the difference that Southwest makes in his life."

Kim Cherry, corporate communications manager for First Tennessee, added that the college serves as a vital resource to educate the area's workforce. "Southwest has developed such a great reputation in this community. We just wanted to recognize the hard work Southwest is doing and be a contributor to it."

Herman Strickland, senior vice president and manager of Commercial Banking, recently joined the Southwest Foundation Board of Trustees. He said he is "excited" about the partnership between First Tennessee and Southwest. "It's an honor to work for a company that is able to give back to the community and I think Southwest is such a great cause," Strickland said.

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Cutline: Pictured from left to right are Kim Cherry; Assoc. Prof. T. Neal Cordell - Southwest; Exec. Dir. Inst. Dev. Roseanne Landey - Southwest; Admin. Asst. Inst. Dev Felecia Donelson - Southwest; President Nathan Essex; Penny Aviotti; V. P. Inst. Advancement Karen Nippert - Southwest; and Herman Strickland.