Issue 572: 4 / 20 / 2015

NBA Veteran Elliot Perry to Deliver the Commencement Address to the Southwest Tennessee Community College 2015 Graduating Class

Elliot L. Perry

Elliot L. Perry

Hometown favorite and NBA Veteran Elliot Lamonte Perry is the speaker for Southwest’s 2015 Commencement Ceremony to be held on May 2 at the Landers Center in Southaven, MS, at 10:30 a.m. Perry is a Treadwell High School graduate (1987). He went on to play for Memphis State University (now University of Memphis) where he started every game of his four-year collegiate career (1987-91) with the Tigers, leading Memphis to four-postseason tournaments, and two NCAA Tournament appearances.

He is the University of Memphis' second all-time leading scorer, with 76 wins over his career. Perry is one of only six players to have their jersey retired for the Tigers.  

After graduating with a degree in marketing in 1991, Perry was drafted in the second round of the 1991 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers. Nicknamed “Socks” after his trademark knee-highs, Elliot played 10 years in the NBA.

During his NBA career, Perry played 547 games with seven teams: Los Angeles Clippers (1991), Charlotte Hornets (1991-92), Phoenix Suns (1994-96), Milwaukee Bucks (1996-98), New Jersey Nets (1999), Orlando Magic (2000), Phoenix Suns (2000-01), and Memphis Grizzlies (2002). He averaged 6.3 points and 3.1 assists per game for his career. His best season came in 1994-95 with the Phoenix Suns when he averaged 9.7 points, 4.8 assists, and 1.9 steals per game, played all 82 games and was runner-up for the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award following the season. Perry appeared in 17 career NBA Playoff games.

After retirement, Elliot served as a player representative with the NBA Players Association in 2004. On October 8, 2005, he began a new chapter in his life when he joined the Memphis Grizzlies ownership team. Perry also joined the Grizzlies radio broadcasting team as a commentator in the 2006-07 season. Perry lives in Germantown, TN, with his wife, Kimberly, and their daughter Morgan. He enjoys movies, music, bowling, and golf. Perry is a very active board member of the Memphis Grizzlies Charitable Foundation, which provides mentorship opportunities for Memphis youth and also serves on a number of boards including the National Civil Rights Museum (NCRM), Teach For America (TFA), Memphis Athletic Ministries (MAM), New Hope Christian Academy, and is currently the chair of the Grizzlies Foundation Board. He is heavily involved in charity work in Memphis and many philanthropic endeavors.

Perry is also an avid collector of contemporary African-American artwork. He began his extensive art collection in 1996. He is passionate for the artwork he buys and the artists he supports. He desires to provide a visible platform through the eyes of some of today’s young artists and challenges himself and others on how they think about history, culture and art.

Southwest Calls for Major Workforce Development Town Hall Meeting

In the last two years, Southwest Tennessee Community College has received more than $10 million in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) funds to facilitate job training opportunities for unemployed and underemployed citizens. Southwest President Nathan Essex is inviting the Mid-South community to a Town Hall Meeting to discuss how TAACCCT job training initiatives prepare program participants for employment in high-wage, high-skill occupations.

The Town Hall Meeting, hosted by President Essex and the Southwest Dept. of Workforce Development, will be held on May 6 from 10:30 a.m.-noon on Southwest’s Macon Cove Campus, Farris Auditorium, located at 5983 Macon Cove, Memphis, TN 38134.

Local business, industry and community leaders have been invited to participate. 

 “This is an effort by Southwest to emphasize the importance of workforce solutions as an imperative to enhancing economic growth and development,” said Essex.

The general public is invited. For more information, contact Laurie Mudd via e-mail at  or call 901- 333-4207.

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Sports After-School Program Makes Debut with College Classes

Area high school students Jamarius ...

Area high school students Jamarius Duncan, 15, (left) along with Jasmine Baker, 16, (middle) and Angela Maxwell, 17, (right) use a microscope to study fruit flies during a dual enrollment class offered by Memphis Athletic Ministries and Southwest Tennessee Community College, to gain college credits. (Mark Weber/The Commercial Appeal)

Reprinted from The Commercial Appeal
April 13, 2015
Jane Roberts

Jasmine Baker, 16, has loved science since she was a child, but that hasn’t always meant she paid attention in class.

“I knew I was going to have to listen one day,” she said last week outside the makeshift science lab at Memphis Athletic Ministries at St. Andrew A.M.E. Church in South Memphis. “I mean, I love experimenting. I look at bugs, everything.”

Baker, a student at Hamilton High, hopes to be a scientist. A year ago, she wasn’t thinking that way. A year ago, the science lab — with its donated microscopes — was just a closet off the basketball court at the ministry at 1472 Mississippi Boulevard.

That was before Ernie Prude, the program’s neighborhood director, and Angela Ventura-Wooten, biology teacher and head of dual enrollment at Southwest Tennessee Community College, had a brainstorming session.

“I was actually thinking of a way to get the parents to take college classes,” Prude said over the steady drumming of basketballs in the gym outside his office. “I got to talking to Ms. Wooten; she said she could do it first with the students. We started from there.”

Now, in what is likely the smallest college biology class in the city (and the only one in the ministry’s network of after-school programs), four teenagers are earning college credits after their regular school day is over. Plus they are doing their own research on fruit fly genetics through the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation grant, a National Science Foundation project to accelerate the number of students of color studying math, science and technology as undergrads in college and later in graduate school.

“Most of our students don’t think of graduate study,” said Ventura-Wooten. “The way to do it is to get them around graduate students. Well, that’s what my students do.”

The fruit-fly research is scheduled from 4:45 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays in the closet at Memphis Athletic Ministries. Once or twice a week, the students go to the Southwest college campus on Union Avenue to do traditional the biology lab work. Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the four — Baker, Jamarius Duncan, Angela Maxwell and Daniel Thomas — are back at St. Andrew’s for Ventura-Wooten’s biology lecture.

“It’s not that hard, if you stay focused and organized and keep up with your notes,” Maxwell said.

Dual enrollment is one of the fastest growing programs on college campuses. It allows high school students to earn college credit at no cost to them. In Tennessee, a state lottery grant pays up to $300 a year for juniors and seniors. Next year, that amount will rise to $500.

In the fall of 2010, 546 high school students were registered at the University of Memphis. Last fall, the enrollment hit 963, a 76 percent increase.

“Recently, we’ve been working with representatives from local school districts to expand course offerings beyond traditional dual enrollment courses in English, history and the sciences,” said Richard Irwin, interim vice provost at U of M. “For example, this year we are partnering with several schools to deliver coursework in career skills and entrepreneurship. We are visiting with others about courses in personal finance, anthropology, and college readiness.”

Last week, Southwest honored Memphis Athletic Ministries’ four students, plus Ciara Slade, a high school senior graduating from the community college with honors this spring, as its outstanding dual-enrollment students.

The four will have at least six college credits by the time school is out this spring, including three from an intro-to-college course every freshman takes. The ministry offered it last fall, its first dual enrollment course.

“A lot of kids from this gym make it to college,” Prude says. “In the first year, they’re calling me and saying they are not doing so well. Well, this way, they will get a head start. So if they mess up, they’ll still be OK.”

Memphis Athletic Ministries plans to offer more courses at St. Andrews. It is also working with Mid-South Community College in West Memphis to add more course choices.

“High school students should be able to enroll in college courses at Mid-South CC as early as this summer,” said Rajah Brown, MAM’s chief programming officer.

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Funding Puts Southwest Closer to Training Program Expansion

Southwest Tennessee Community College Downtown ...

Southwest Tennessee Community College Downtown Campus (Alan Howell | MBJ)

Reprinted from the Memphis Business Journal
April 16, 2015
Michael Sheffield

A $3.5 million building for Southwest Tennessee Community College’s Industrial Readiness Training Program got a big boost from a federal grant announced last week.

Southwest received a [$904,588] federal grant from the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration that will go towards a capital campaign for the building. The tentative start date for construction is summer 2016.

Rose Landey, executive director of Institutional Development, said having a building on the campus will allow the IRT program to share resources with other buildings at Macon Cove and will also simplify the process for students who previously had to go to multiple locations.

“Students will more easily be able to move from one step to the next in their training without going to numerous locations,” Landey said.

The program was created in 2012, and, since then, nearly 1,000 students have completed it. Of those students an estimated 65 percent are currently employed, while another 20 percent are moving forward in the job search process. Southwest has a total of 5,037 students enrolled in its IRT, corporate training and life and leisure programs. Of that number, 281 of the students are directly enrolled in the IRT program. When the building is completed, the school could see a 50 percent increase in enrollment in the IRT program.

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Southwest Conducts Presidential Candidate Interviews and Q & A Sessions

The Presidential Search Committee is narrowing down the candidate list for Southwest’s next president and will conduct interviews with the finalists during the week of April 27. The faculty, students, staff, alumni, and interested public are invited to meet the top contenders at a Campus-wide Q & A forum for each presidential finalist candidate respectively on Monday, April 27; Tuesday, April 28; and Thursday, April 30 from 1:15-2:30 p.m. on the Macon Cove Campus, Farris Bldg., Rooms ABC.

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Southwest’s Alumni Association Launches the Annual Graduate Rose Sale

The Southwest Alumni Association, for the eighth year, is hosting a rose sale through the remainder of April at the Grad Fair and at the 2015 Commencement Ceremony for deserving graduates. The roses come in assorted colors and can be purchased for $15 per half-dozen and $20 per dozen. Pre-orders will be taken through April 29. Proceeds from the rose sale will benefit the Southwest Alumni Association Scholarship Fund.

Roses may be purchased for a deserving graduate, family member, or friend. You may also purchase a bouquet anonymously, and the Alumni Association will present the bouquet to a deserving graduate. Roses will also be available for sale before and after the graduation ceremony on May 2 at the Landers Center (formerly known as the DeSoto Civic Center).

To pre-order roses for a Southwest graduate or for more details, please contact Frances Bullock at 901-333-4997 or via e-mail at Or, you can place your order on-line at .

The Alumni Association will be selling Graduation DVDs of the 2015 Commencement Ceremony for $10. They can be pre-ordered, purchased at commencement, or ordered on-line at . The DVDs will be mailed approximately four weeks after the ceremony.

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Southwest Holds Student Art Shows

Mary Heburn displays an original ...

Mary Heburn displays an original art piece, "Diamond."

This is a reminder that Southwest Art Instructor Alex Paulus will present two art shows on April 23 and 30 at the Macon Cove Campus.

Art Show - Mary Heburn 

Art Show - Spring 2015 Semester Students

Each art show will have a reception. For additional information, contact Alex Paulus at  (901) 333-4571 or

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Clippers Sign Lester Hudson to Multi-Year Deal

Lester Hudson

Lester Hudson

Reprinted from FOX Sports West
April 11, 2015
Jill Painter Lope

 [Former Saluqi Lester Hudson signs with the Clippers.]

The Clippers have signed Lester Hudson to a multi-year deal, the team announced on Saturday.

Hudson was all smiles on Saturday [April 11] with the new deal. After his original 10-day contract expired, the Clippers took several days to figure out if they were going to sign him or Nate Robinson. During that time, Hudson said he wondered what he did wrong and stayed at a hotel in Los Angeles, just in case.

"It was a little back and forth. I was down. I was high," Hudson said. "I'm happy right now."

Hudson is averaging 2.3 points and 1.7 steals for the Clippers. He was signed by the Clippers to a 10-day contract on March 29.

Hudson was drafted by Boston in 2009 when Doc Rivers was coaching there. Asked how he thought he can best help the Clippers, Hudson said: "It's a great group of guys. My mentality was to come in and play defense. I knew I wasn't going to be main scorer like I was overseas. I wanted to come in and show I could play defense and then you can get into the offense. The second unit needs to come in and play defense and get stops."

The 30-year-old Hudson most recently played for the Chinese Basketball Association, where he was a two-time MVP (in 2014 and 2015) and three-time All-Star.

Asked if fans chanted "MVP!" for him, Hudson said: "Of course, for the last couple of years. It was great. Growing up you always want to be the MVP. You look up to Michael Jordan, Kobe, and they got MVP. You want to be like that, just not in the NBA it was in the CBA. It was great."

Hudson last played for Liaoning, where he averaged 31.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and 6.9 assists.

The Clippers (53-26) have just three games remaining in the regular season, with a big game against Memphis tonight [April 11] and their last regular season home game Monday [April 13] against Denver. The Clippers finish the regular season in Phoenix on Tuesday.

Hudson isn't expected to play much during the postseason, but he could provide depth over the next few games, especially if Rivers decides to rest any players.

"I was hoping and praying and things like that," Hudson said of being signed. "I didn't know it would be possible. It's possible. I'm thankful and blessed."

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Southwest Baseball Team Wins One of Three Against Columbia State

Mason Castile

Mason Castile

The Southwest baseball team took on defending region champion Columbia State Community College on the road over the weekend in Columbia, Tennessee, winning one of three games in the conference series. After losing the first game of a doubleheader on April 17 by a score of 7-0, the Saluqis came back to defeat the Chargers 5-2 in game two before losing the series finale 8-5 on April 18.

Vince Hoyt was the top hitter in the series with a .333 batting average, a double, home run and four runs batted in. Mason Castile also batted .333 with two doubles and two runs batted in, and Dylan Moore added three hits and two runs batted in. Matt McKinstry was the winning pitcher in game two, allowing no earned runs in four innings of work. Milton Macias retired the final-two outs and earned the save.

The Southwest baseball team will host Dyersburg State Community College this weekend in the final conference games of the season. The Saluqis and Eagles will play a single game at 5 p.m. on April 24 and a 1 p.m. doubleheader on April 25.

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Southwest Softball Team Swept by Columbia State

Taylor Gilliland

Taylor Gilliland

The Southwest softball team traveled to Columbia, Tennessee, over the weekend for a four-game series with conference front-runner Columbia State Community College and was defeated in all four games. The Lady Saluqis totaled just two runs and 12 hits as they lost by scores of 8-0 and 6-1 on April 17, and 7-0 and 9-1 on April 18. The losses dropped Southwest’s overall record to 21-27.

Four players had multiple hits in the series, led by Taylor Gilliland who had three singles and drove in a run. Olivia Johnson, Tara Comer and Alex Turner added two hits each.

This is the final week of the regular season for the Southwest softball team. They will host conference rival Dyersburg State Community College in a four-game series at Buckhead Creek Recreation Complex on April 24 (1 p.m. and 4 p.m.) and April 25 (11 a.m. and 1 p.m.). The seven Lady Saluqi sophomores will be recognized following the second game on April 25.

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