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John and Patty Williams Conference Room Dedicated

Dean Wirth with Patty and John WilliamsOn Nov. 14, CCI Dean Mike Wirth led the dedication ceremony of the John and Patty Williams Conference Room. The conference room which is located in the Scripps Convergence Lab, was named in honor of BOV member John Williams (BS/JEM ’71), CEO of The Regional Eye Clinic in Kingsport, Tennessee and his wife Patty, a retired elementary school librarian and community volunteer, in gratitude for their gift to CCI establishing the John and Patty Williams Excellence Endowment and Fund. The gift provides the College with discretionary funding to help CCI students and faculty take advantage of life changing experiences and to invest in programmatic excellence and innovation. The Williams’ initial gift allowed CCI to send one of its best students to the News21 Carnegie/Knight Foundation News Challenge Program held every summer at Arizona State University.  The student had a remarkable, career impacting experience that would not have been possible without the gift.  

The Williams’ latest gift will have a significant impact on CCI’s students and faculty and on the College’s Journey to the Top 25 Campaign. A plaque was placed outside of the conference room commemorating the Williams’ gift.  The plaque reads:

John T. Williams (B.S./Journalism and Electronic Media ’71) and Patricia D. Williams (UT Knoxville School of Information Sciences Library Endorsement ’86 and B.A. Stephens College ‘71, MAT East Tennessee State University ‘76) are Kingsport, TN natives with highly successful careers as professionals and community volunteers. John’s career accomplishments include: long-time CEO of The Regional Eye Center in Kingsport and President or Managing Partner of related companies, management positions at a medical management consulting firm, radio and television stations and the Tennessee Valley Authority. He is also an award winning broadcast journalist, video producer and writer. Patty’s accomplishments include her dedicated service as Abraham Lincoln Elementary Librarian and George Washington Elementary Librarian in Kingsport and as an elementary school librarian in Sevierville and Knoxville.

John and Patty are also noted for their philanthropic and volunteer support of community and non-profit organizations such as John’s work as Chairman of the Kingsport Higher Education Commission, Wellmont Holston Valley Medical Center and the Wellmont Foundation; as President of the Dobyns-Bennett Education Foundation and the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce; and as a member of the Wellmont Health System Board and of the UT College of Communication and Information’s Board of Visitors. Patty’s volunteer work included serving as President of the Tennessee Association of School Librarians and Chair of the Volunteer State Book Award. She received Tennessee’s top library awards in recognition of her outstanding work: the Clara Hasbrouck Award from the Tennessee Association of School Librarians and the Louise Meredith Award from the Tennessee Library Association. 

Together they developed and funded the John and Patty Williams Media Center at Holston Valley Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital. 

The John and Patty Williams Conference Room provides CCI students, faculty and staff with a place to research, create, discuss and exchange ideas both internally and externally.  It was dedicated on November 14, 2014 in honor of John and Patty’s accomplishments and in recognition of their generous contributions to help CCI students and faculty accomplish remarkable things through their pursuit of excellence. 

“I am extremely grateful to John and Patty for their faith and confidence in the College of Communication and Information and the University of Tennessee,” said CCI Dean Mike Wirth. “Their decision to invest in CCI means that our students and faculty will be able to innovate and take advantage of unique, life changing experiential learning opportunities.”