Columbia State Announces Distinguished Award Winners

(COLUMBIA, Tenn. – July 8, 2013) - - - Pitts Hinson, D.D.S., Ranee Curtis, R.N., and Dr. Sam and Mrs. Lucy Kuykendall were honored at the Columbia State Community College Foundation’s annual award luncheon on Wednesday, June 19.

Selected by President Janet F. Smith, Ph.D., Hinson was awarded the 2013 President’s Award of Honor for Distinguished Alumni for his outstanding service to Columbia State. A 1969 graduate of the college, he was awarded Alumnus of the Year in 1988, served on the foundation from 1988-2001, and was the chairman of the development committee from 1998-2000.

In more recent years, Hinson has devoted much of his time to his hobby of pottery making and has become well recognized, having pieces displayed in the Columbia State Pryor Gallery and throughout the region. Hinson has continued to support Columbia State by crafting a special commemorative plate glazed in green, which he donates each commencement as a token of his appreciation for the college. The plate is unique to Columbia State and can only be obtained by being selected as a commencement speaker. Each plate is engraved underneath with the speaker’s name and date of the ceremony.

“Pitts Hinson has not only demonstrated continued support and participation,” Smith said. “He has gone the extra mile and set the true example of a loyal alumnus. His vision and desire for the continued growth of his college started a wonderful tradition for the college and a special recognition for our commencement speakers.”

Hinson took a leadership role in the Enriching Lives and Securing Futures campaign and has given generously to Columbia State’s scholarships and building funds, as well as the foundation. He has volunteered his time to numerous groups and served in leadership roles on boards, including the Southern Society of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and First Farmers and Merchants Bank.

Earning his B.S. from the University of Tennessee at Martin and an M.S. and D.D.S. from the UT Center for Health Sciences, Hinson has written several articles published in Dental Association journals, and he has received honors and awards for his work as a pediatric dentist and surgeon, including “Fellow of the AAPD” and a fellowship award from the Tennessee Dental Association.

The 2013 Alumnus of the Year award was presented to Curtis, a 1985 graduate of Columbia State who earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in nursing. After discovering more opportunities to provide care for critical patients, she returned in 2001 to complete the EMT-IV program in order to become a flight nurse.

“Ms. Curtis exemplifies Columbia State’s mission and vision,” said Kae Fleming, Ed.D., dean of the health sciences division and professor of radiologic technology. “If I were picking ambassadors for learning, serving and leading, Ranee Curtis would be high on the list.”

Curtis was the Tennessean’s Nurse of the Year in 2004 and has developed numerous programs which serve Columbia State’s rural communities, including Saint Thomas’s Chest Pain Network and data registry, Stroke Network and mobile simulation lab.

In addition, Curtis has written, obtained and managed multiple grants that focus on rural stroke and heart healthy living education. A member of community organizations, she has also served on the Cardiovascular Council (TriStar Nashville Market), the Nashville Fire EMS/ED Quality Committee, and the Tennessee Cardiovascular Systems of Care Committee.

Curtis continues to support Columbia State in her professional efforts, recruiting college personnel for membership in grant advisory committees and supports Columbia State students throughout the learning experience through mentorship.

In 1989, Curtis earned her critical care certification from the University of Tennessee in Nashville, and she completed her B.S.N. in 2004 from Middle Tennessee State University. She continues to look for ways to improve healthcare education, patient outcomes and provider skills in Middle Tennessee.

Recipients of the 2013 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy, the Kuykendall’s were recognized for their significant impact on the growth and support of the arts at Columbia State and its surrounding communities.

John Morgan, chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents, presented the award to the Kuykendall’s, saying that their lasting influence and generosity will forever impact the development and support of the arts at Columbia State and its surrounding communities.

“It is through individuals like Sam and Lucy that this college will continue to provide a place for students and the community to grow and learn for many years to come,” Morgan said.
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Mrs. Kuykendall served as the curator of the Pryor Art Gallery from 2001-2012, using her passion and vision to lay the foundation for the arts at Columbia State. She also partnered with area elementary and high school art teachers to provide opportunities for local budding artists to display their work for a student exhibit every spring.

The Kuykendall’s have also donated personal resources to develop the gallery’s design and exhibits, bringing a wide variety of artists to the gallery to showcase sculpture, pottery, wood working, glass and other media.

“The Kuykendall’s have given their time and resources over the past decade to provide opportunities to broaden and enrich lives through the visual arts,” Smith said. “They are well deserving of this honor.”

In 2008, the Kuykendall’s expanded the visual arts at Columbia State to include the envisioned sculpture garden, which now permanently showcases “The Crossings” and “The Graduate,” two stainless steel sculptures commissioned by Chattanooga based sculptor, Isaac Duncan.
 
 “The passion, vision, hard work and financial contributions of Dr. and Mrs. Kuykendall will reap great benefit for our students and have a lasting impact in our community well into the future,” Smith said.


Photo Caption: Dr. Janet Smith presents Pitts Hinson with a specially crafted keepsake box in honor of his Distinguished Alumni award.


Photo Caption: The committee received several letters of support in honor of Ranee Curtis, all of which describe her outstanding commitment, dedication and professionalism as a nurse and healthcare professional. Pictured, left to right: Dr. Janet Smith, Columbia State president; Ranee Curtis, R.N., and Dr. Kae Fleming, dean of health sciences and professor of radiologic technology.


Photo Caption: In 2010, Dr. Sam and Mrs. Lucy Kuykendall generously gifted “The Crossing” sculpture to Columbia State Community College as a permanent fixture on campus. Pictured, left to right: John Morgan, chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents; Lucy Kuykendall; Sam Kuykendall; and Dr. Janet Smith, president of Columbia State.


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