Community First Award Winners Chosen At CSCC

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Community First Awards Committee at Cleveland State Community College received approximately 75 nominations seeking to honor individuals across nine categories. Nominations were judged based on the nominees’ extraordinary commitment of time, talent or treasure to the community. There were a total of nine winners for the individual categories. 

“We are thrilled to have another outstanding group of Community First Award honorees,” stated Dr. Bill Seymour, CSCC president. “Each in their own special way exemplifies the value of always putting your community first.

We look forward to honoring them at our gala and identifying one as the Community First Person of the Year.” 

The committee met following a review of all the nomination materials. They voted on their top candidates for each category, as well as the one person who will be identified as the Community First Person of the Year. The Person of the Year will not be revealed until the Community First Gala on April 5.

The categories and winners are as follows: 

? Arts:
Connie Gatlin
  artistic director, Cleveland City Ballet / writer / storyteller, Cleveland 
? Business:
Roger Pickett
  president / owner, MurMaid Mattress Inc., Cleveland 

? Education:
Carmen Choat
  secondary supervisor, Meigs County High Schools, Decatur

? Healthcare:
Dr. William (Bill) Johnson II.
  chief medical officer, Tennova Healthcare, Cleveland

? Non-Profit Leadership:
  Matt Ryerson
    president and CEO, United Way, Cleveland 

? Philanthropy:
Rodney and Margo Fitzgerald
(Rodney Fitzgerald) retired, dean, Cleveland State Community and former director
    Public Information, After-School Program and Cleveland Public Education Foundation, Cleveland City Schools, Cleveland
(Margot Fitzgerald) retired, National Projects manager, Rosetta Stone, Cleveland

? Public Service:
  Mike Bell
     senator, Riceville

? Student Leadership: 
  Kenzi Morgan
    student, Sweetwater High School, Sweetwater

? Volunteer Service:
Kelvin Bishop
 CPA / financial advisor, Cleveland

This year’s event will also include a special recognition of Mayor Tom Rowland and his years of service to the Cleveland community. 

The Community First Awards Gala is presented by Cleveland State Community College. The premier sponsor for the event is the First Tennessee Foundation and Follett Higher Education Group and SouthEast Bank are serving as partnering sponsors. It is a benefit for the CSCC Foundation Annual Campaign, and will be held on Thursday, April 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the L. Quentin Lane Center in Cleveland. Dinner will be provided, as well as a dinner performance by an Ensemble of The Cleveland Orchestra of Tennessee under the direction of Sarah Pearson, conductor. Dress for the evening is black tie optional. 
To purchase a ticket or for information on corporate sponsorship, contact Cindy Dawson 
at 423-614-8703 or visit the website at All proceeds from the 
event will go to the CSCC Foundation Capital Campaign. 

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