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Thursday July 02, 2020

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Walters State Announces Tallman Gift
April 29, 2019

The Walters State Foundation has received a generous gift from the estate of Joyce Cutshaw Tallman. The gift will fund four $2,000 scholarships each year through 2035. In accordance with her wishes, scholarships will support students majoring in health professions at the college’s Sevier County Campus.
“I sincerely regret not having the chance to meet Ms. Tallman,” said Dr. Tony Miksa, president of Walters State. “Her friends have said she lived a life of love, friendship and purpose. All three of those aspects will continue through the Joyce Tallman Scholarship. We are grateful that Ms. Tallman thought of Walters State and our students.”
Tallman died last fall at the age of 90.
She was born in Knoxville and raised by her grandmother in East Tennessee. Her first job was at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, but she shortly thereafter moved to Atlanta.

She served 51 years as a dedicated employee of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), America’s first interstate compact for education and seeks to improve education in its 16 member states.
Tallman was executive assistant to the president for most of that time. She served as the liaison for the organization’s 80 board members.
“The Board was made up of the governor of each state, a university president or school board superintendent, a key legislator and a community or business leader,” said Mark Musick, Tallman’s longtime friend and the former president of SREB.

“She maintained the contacts for all the members. She was often the first contact for a board member. She might talk to someone in a governor’s office every day. Every letter that went to a board member went through Joyce’s desk. She was loyal and maintained confidences. She had a tremendous, natural ability to connect with people.
During her early years at SREB, Tallman mastered the IBM Executive manual typewriter, according to her friend Jean Johnson. Although this typewriter produced documents that rivaled artwork, its variable spacing could drive some typists to other careers. Tallman held on to the IBM Executive for as long as possible, with SREB hiring a “typewriter blacksmith” to make parts after IBM discontinued the model. She did make the move to computers and mastered software, becoming a technology pro.

During her retirement, she spent much of her time on her laptop, her iPad, a tablet and her iPhone.
Tallman established a wonderful life in Atlanta, but she never forgot East Tennessee.
“She talked about Tennessee and she liked Tennessee, and that’s one of the reasons she wanted to help students in Tennessee,” Johnson said.

A single woman in a big city, Tallman began saving early in her career. She invested wisely and worked well into her 70s. Her estate left generous gifts to several worthwhile causes. While she was able to save a large amount during her life, she would in no way be considered miserly. 
“Joyce was frugal, but she had no qualms about spending money on clothing, technology and groceries,” Johnson said.
At work, Tallman was known as an organized workaholic. She kept meticulous records and had a mind for details. At home, she had a quick wit and a kind heart.
“We all loved Joyce,” said her friend Tricia Avery, human resources director at SREB. Johnson was also served as SREB human resources director. 
“Joyce spent holidays with us and was, for all practical purposes, a member of our family,” Musick said.

Scholarship recipients be very grateful for the financial assistance provided, but they can also benefit from the example she set: Don’t spend everything you earn. Set some aside each month. 
“Joyce would tell students to work hard. Keep your nose to the grindstone. Be determined. She pulled herself up by her bootstraps and you can, too,” Johnson said.