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Vicki Kinser Honors Family with Scholarship
May 25, 2022

An endowed scholarship at Walters State Community College will honor a beloved family while assisting future artists.

Vicki S. Kinser has established the scholarship in honor of her parents, the late Dr. and Mrs. John H. (Betty Kinser) and her brother, the late John H. Kinser Jr. The scholarship will be given to students pursing an art degree with preference given to students working in metal art and sculpting.

“The Walters State family is grateful that Ms. Kinser chose to honor her family in this way,” said Dr. Tony Miksa, president of Walters State. “This gift will provide financial assistance to artists for generations to come.”

The donor has been a metal artist for many years doing business as Visions by Vicki. She first developed a love of the medium when she and her brother built a two-seat bicycle from separate bicycles many years ago.

“We had asked our parents for a bicycle built for two, but we did not receive one,” Kinser said. “One day, we took out our father’s Forney welding machine and his skill saw, put separate bikes together and it worked.”

Kinser turned to those same skills in 1987 when the family’s barn and three sheds burned. She saved all the metal she could find and created each family member a sculpture memento.

“My parents have blessed me and many others with numerous skills, knowledge, opportunities, a love of life and God,” Kinser said. “Now it is my turn to acknowledge them while giving back.”

Her first commissioned piece was a 6-foot crane with a 4-foot wingspan and a 2-foot German crystal eye. The piece was created for a local hairdresser as a gift to his wife. Kinser created the sculpture while enrolled in the welding program at what is now the Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Morristown, where she completed the combination welding degree.

“I am very appreciative and thankful for the assistance and training provided by my welding instructor, Frank Roberts, and the staff of TCAT. Building a basic knowledge of anything is very important and I feel the school is first class. I really treasured my time there,” said Kinser. TCAT and Walters State are both governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

“Art is very important to the nature and growth of each individual. Art not only shows beauty, but also shows different perspectives. I want to encourage future artists with this scholarship while also honoring my parents and my brother,” Kinser said.

She said her parents were avid believers in education and thought highly of Walters State. Her father was friends with the college’s namesake, the late Sen. Herbert Walters.

“I am very impressed by Walters State’s art program and I am honored to have this opportunity,” Kinser said. 

The Dr. John H., Betty and John H. Kinser Jr. Scholarship Endowment will be awarded annually from the earnings of the endowment, enabling the award to go on in perpetuity. The endowment is open for additional contributions. Those can be made by contacting Chris Cates, assistant vice president for college advancement, at 423-585-2618.

In the photo: Vicki Kinser has established an endowed scholarship to honor her late parents and her late brother. From left are Dr. Jack Campbell, president emeritus at Walters State; Chris Cates, assistant vice president of college advancement; Dr. Tony Miksa, president of Walters State; Jessie VanderLaan-Delaney, assistant dean of humanities and assistant professor of art; Kinser and John Jarnigan.