Pellissippi State Nursing students benefit from David and Marty Black gift

David and Marty Black have established the Esther Carlson Lowe Nursing Scholarship for a student at Pellissippi State.

David and Marty Black have established the Esther Carlson Lowe Nursing Scholarship for a student at Pellissippi State.

“Every bit of education benefits the entire community,” said Marty Black, a Maryville native who, along with husband David, has been a long-time supporter of education in the area. “Education is the single most important asset. With education comes good jobs, and with good jobs come good communities.”

Marty believes especially in educating nurses. The Esther Carlson Lowe Nursing Scholarship was established at Pellissippi State Community College in honor of Marty’s mother, Esther Judith Charlotte Carson Lowe, who passed away in 2008 at the age of 93.

The first scholarship recipient was in the 2009-2010 academic year, and the college determines the second recipient next week. The benefiting student will attend classes in the recently approved Nursing program, at the new Blount County Campus. The campus, located at 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Pkwy. (U.S. Highway 321) near Friendsville, opens its doors to students fall semester.

Esther Carlson Lowe was a registered nurse who grew up in Rhode Island and Sweden. She graduated from the Homeopathic Hospital of Rhode Island and worked in Providence, R.I., and New Haven, Conn., until she became a stewardess with American Airlines in 1938. (Lowe was the first stewardess from the state of Rhode Island.)

In 1940, she married Ernest Lowe, a Maryville College graduate, and they settled in Maryville. In Blount County, she was an active Red Cross volunteer, teaching home health care and safety classes, as well as mother and baby care, in the community.

Lowe’s legacy continues through the scholarship, which provides assistance to a Nursing student from Blount County who is a single parent. The recipient must demonstrate financial need, have a minimum 3.0 grade point average in high school or the college last attended, and submit a written recommendation.

“My mother considered nursing the perfect profession,” said Marty. “I feel this is an appropriate way to honor her.”

The Blacks have supported the Pellissippi State Foundation in various ways for more than 19 years. The Foundation funds student scholarships and new technology and equipment. Though the Blacks’ involvement with the Foundation has taken many forms, their commitment to expanding educational opportunities has remained the same.

Before the Nursing scholarship was created, the Foundation already offered the David and Marty Black Scholarship, which supports a full-time Blount County student.

David also is a former Pellissippi State Foundation board member and serves on the Blount County Campaign Committee of the college’s Connecting Communities, Changing Lives Major Gifts Campaign. The committee has been instrumental in working to reach the fundraising goal of $2 million for the new Blount County Campus project.

“The contributions of the Blacks have been instrumental in helping the Foundation succeed on behalf of the College,” said Peggy Wilson. Wilson is executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation, as well as vice president of College Advancement.

“David has been a driving force behind reorganizing and strengthening the Foundation board. Now, Marty has chosen to create a scholarship in her mother’s name. The College, the students and the community have benefited greatly from the Blacks’ generosity.”

The Blount County Campus is a $22 million state-of-the-art teaching facility that broke ground in May 2008. The 39.5-acre site can accommodate more than 1,500 students. The 70,485-square-foot building offers space for offices and a manufacturing training center, physical education facility, 100-seat auditorium, library and student lounge.

The college’s new Nursing program will be housed in the two-story structure, along with science and computer labs and classrooms. One classroom is designed specifically for distance education, an increasingly popular choice among students.

“This is just a delightful sign of success for Pellissippi State,” said David. “It’s great that this new facility will reflect the quality of experiences that students already have here.”

Pellissippi State has been offering classes in Blount County since 1985. In the beginning, the school saw an enrollment of only about 100 students per semester and a few evening classes were offered in area high schools. All of Pellissippi State’s Blount County programs were centralized in 1992 at the former Bungalow Elementary School, which supported approximately 1,000 students per semester.

“We’re so grateful to everyone who helped make this new campus a reality—the Blount County Commission, fundraisers, the Pellissippi State administration, the governor and all of the folks who have attended the college and given back to the school and to the community,” said David.

For information about Pellissippi State, call 865-694-6400 or visit

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