Walters State Community College honored six individuals with its highest distinction on Monday (May 12): the distinguished alumni award. The awards were presented at the annual meeting of the Walters State Foundation trustees at the college’s Sevier County Campus.
Recipients of the 2014 Distinguished Alumni in Professional Achievement Award are Dr. Patricia Ketterman of Newport and Dr. Shelly Shaw of Greeneville. George “Joey” Seaver of Knoxville and Jerry Nichols of Memphis received the 2014 Distinguished Alumni in Athletic Achievement Award. Ronald Seals of Sevierville received the 2014 Distinguished Alumni in Civic Achievement Award, and Jim Claborn of Talbott was honored with the 2014 Distinguished Alumni in Community and/or Voluntary Service Award.
“The Walters State Distinguished Alumni Award is given to alumni who have demonstrated outstanding service in their profession and/or community and have brought honor and distinction to Walters State,” said Dr. Wade McCamey, president of the college.
Ketterman earned an associate’s degree from Walters State in 1977. She currently serves as chief nursing officer and director of nursing for LeConte Medical Center in Sevierville. She was previously employed as the CEO and nursing home administrator for Newport Medical Center; director of nursing at Baptist Hospital of Cocke County; and administrative director of nursing for Covenant Health System, Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. She serves as president of the Cocke County Board of Health and is active in several community and professional organizations.
Shaw earned an associate’s degree from Walters State in 1992. She graduated third in her class from the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, where she received the Top Clinician Award, the Excellence in Ocular Disease and Basic Sciences Award, and the Sunsoft Contact Lens Achievement Award. She began her practice at Greeneville Eye Clinic. In 2005, she became a partner in East View Eye Care, P.C. She is a past president of the Northeast Tennessee Optometric Society. She is also involved in community organizations and served on the Greene County Leadership Class of 2000.
Seaver received an associate’s degree form Walters State in 1984. He was a member of the first Senators baseball team to go to the JUCO World Series in Grand Junction, Colo. He went on to play at the University of Tennessee and in the minor leagues for the Milwaukee Brewers. He coached at Carson-Newman University for 10 years before returning to Walters State as an assistant baseball coach and assistant coordinator of high school relations. He helped lead the Senators to five more World Series appearances, including a 2006 national championship. Seaver is currently the pitching coach for the Arizona League Texas Rangers.
Nichols earned an associate’s degree from Walters State in 2004. As a Senators basketball player, he was named player of the year by the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association and a National Junior College Athletic Association All-American. He continued his collegiate basketball career at Arkansas State University, where he led the team in 3-point shooting and was named the top defensive player of the year his junior year. After assistant coaching jobs at Walters State and Union College, he was named men’s head basketball coach and athletic director at Motlow State Community College. During his four-year tenure, he was twice named TCCAA basketball coach of the year. He is currently the head basketball coach at Southwest Tennessee Community College.
Seals earned an associate’s degree from Walters State in 1976. He has over 40 years of law enforcement service. He began his public safety career in 1973, working with the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department. After graduating from Walters State, he was hired by the Pigeon Forge Police Department in 1977. He quickly moved up the ranks to become assistant chief of police. He returned to the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department in 1979. He has served as Sevier County sheriff since 2007 and was named the Tennessee Sheriff’s Association Sheriff of the Year in 2012. He is active in several professional community organizations, including the Police Benevolent Association and the Sevier County Ruritan Club.
Claborn was one of 56 students to graduate in the college’s first commencement in 1972. After earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee, he spent 27 years teaching social studies at Meadowview Middle School. He has also taught at Walters State, Morristown-Hamblen High School West and All Saints’ Episcopal School. Throughout his teaching career, Claborn received several teacher-of-the-year awards. And in 2001, he was a finalist for Tennessee Teacher of the Year. He is a respected and entertaining local historian, having appeared on NBC’s “Today” show and in the film, “The Last of the Mohicans.” He is a columnist for the “The Citizen Tribune” and is a member of the “Talk is Cheap” storytelling tour. In recognition of his efforts to communicate the rich history of this region, he was named a recipient of Carson-Newman University’s 2013 Award for Outstanding Educational Service to Appalachia.
In the picture: Distinguished alumni honored by Walters State on Monday are (starting second from left) Jim Claborn, Sheriff Ron Seals, Dr. Patti Ketterman, Dr. Shelly Shaw and Jerry Nichols. Not pictured is George “Joey” Seaver. Also pictured are (right) Dr. Wade McCamey, president of Walters State, and (left) Wanda Harrell, assistant director of alumni affairs and annual giving at Walters State.