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Board of Visitors Spotlight: Martha (Missy) Wallen (B.S./CS ’74)

Missy WallenMissy Wallen currently serves as the Tennessee State President for BB&T (Branch Banking &Trust Company).  Room 314 of the Communications and Information Building bears her name(along with BB&T’s). Serving on the Board of Visitors (BOV) since 1999, she has been a friend and mentor to the college. She resides in Knoxville with her husband Joe where they raised their two daughters.

CCI: How and when did you first get involved (on a volunteer basis) with CCI?
MW: I have been associated with CCI through a total of4 Deans/Acting Deans! Dr. John Haas requested that I join to act as a representative for Speech Communication.

CCI: In your view, what is the most important or impactful role you’ve played as a volunteer?
MW: My most important role has been to communicate the great work of the college to our community. Additionally, I believe that my advocacy for the important role communication plays in one’s career has been impactful. As a Regional President for one of the 10 largest banks in the nation, telling the story of how my degree from the college has contributed to my success has helped others to see the benefit of a degree from the College.

CCI: Why have you chosen to support the college (financially and/or with your time)? Why do you see this as important?
MW: I have chosen to support the college because I truly believe that the college has played an integral role in the success I have enjoyed in my career.

CCI: What do you hope to accomplish during your term with the BOV?
MW: To continue to fundraise for the college and attract more alumni to do the same.

CCI: Is there anything exciting or interesting going on “behind the scenes” in CCI that the average alum might not be aware of?
MW:  The exciting physical changes to the College facilities are worth a visit!

CCI: If someone is considering volunteerism as a way to “give back” to the University, what advice would you have for them? Why should they do it?
MW:  Volunteerism is a dual gift. The gift of your time benefits the college, but the feeling you receive from the appreciation of your time from students and faculty is humbling and heartwarming!

CCI: What from your UT and CCI experience has “stuck with you” during life since graduating?
MW: The biggest “takeaway” I carry with me is the fact that how one communicates is an important reflection of you as a person and the company you represent.

CCI: What is your favorite memory from your time as a student at UT?
MW: My favorite memory is a dress rehearsal of “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” in Faye Julian’s class. I changed the words in my part and scared her to death that I would use that version in the public performance!

CCI: Any other parting words of wisdom?
MW: Communication is a critical tool regardless of what age you are, what industry you are in, or what message you are trying to convey. Use it wisely!