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Walters State Dedicates Niswonger Campus
September 26, 2019

Walters State Community College dedicated its Niswonger Campus in Greeneville on Thursday, marking the completion of a new building.
As part of the dedication, the campus was officially named after Scott Niswonger. The Greeneville businessman and philanthropist donated $5 million to the project, making it the largest single donation in Walters State’s history. He also advocated for and helped secure millions of dollars in additional funds.
“As a college, we believed that Scott’s support not just for Walters State but for education at all levels deserved to be recognized in a manner equal to his unprecedented contributions. We chose to name this campus in honor of Scott because his contributions to education are so far-reaching,” said Dr. Tony Miksa, president of Walters State. 
“I’ve been fortunate to get to know Scott over the last few years. What I have learned and grown to admire about him is the passion and vision he has for improving our community. Scott is continuously thinking about and developing and supporting initiatives that improve and enrich the lives of those living in this community,” Miksa said. 
Miksa also thanked his predecessor, Dr. Wade McCamey, for his leadership in the development of the new campus.
“Dr. McCamey had to make a decision. We could have used the original grant to improve the old hospital building or take the much riskier path to raise enough funds to build a space that would enable the college to grow programs and better serve the needs of our community. Fortunately, he chose the latter and we are here today because of that decision,” Miksa said. 

As part of the dedication, Walters State unveiled a statue inspired by Niswonger’s story. The statue depicts a boy playing with a model airplane. Niswonger dreamed of being a pilot as a child. He learned to fly, soloing on his 16th birthday. He served as a corporate pilot for the president of The Magnavox Company before starting his first business, General Aviation, Inc. He later co-founded a second transportation company, Landair Services and, in 1990, formed Forward Air Corporation. He currently serves as chairman emeritus of these corporations. He is also founder and chairman of the Niswonger Foundation. 

“This statute is an artistic representation of Scott’s story. He wasn’t afraid to dream and he pursued those dreams. Through his story, our students and other visitors to this campus will be inspired to achieve their dreams and goals for generations to come,” said Miksa.

The statue was created by sculptor Gary Lee Price of Arizona. It also features a representation of Niswonger’s dog, Doc, who followed him to school and waited for him every day. 
The campus has 1,129 students. With the expansion came a new program to train occupational therapy assistants. The college’s Physical Therapist Assistant Program, based at the Morristown Campus, also now offers classes at the Niswonger Campus. The Walters State Regional Law Enforcement Academy, which has always been housed in Greeneville, has expanded to serve 40 more cadets a year. 
“The new space has helped with increased enrollments through two new statewide initiatives, Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect,” Miksa said. The programs offer tuition-free opportunities for recent high school graduates and adult learners.
The 104,000-square-foot building located in downtown Greeneville was designed to complement the historical structures around it. The building also incorporates and reflects architectural elements used on historic college campuses located in Appalachia. Features include an outdoor amphitheater, an allied health simulation lab, a learning-support emporium and a 234-seat theatre. The college was previously housed in the former Laughlin Memorial Hospital. 
John Fisher of Fisher and Associates was the building’s architect. Johnson and Gaylon  served as general contractor.