Northeast State’s Linda Calvert has earned the 2014 Harold Love Outstanding Community Service Award. The award is presented by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) to recognize demonstrated success in public service. Five students and five faculty/staff members are honored statewide each year.
Calvert, currently executive director of Grant Development for the College, was cited by THEC for her long-time affiliation with South Central Kingsport Development Inc. Since 2000, the Kingsport organization has made tremendous strides in neighborhood revitalization and drug eradication. Calvert was instrumental in the charter of the organization as well as in securing funding for projects.
The General Assembly created community service recognition programs for Tennessee higher education students and faculty/staff in 1991. In 1997, the awards were named for the late Rep. Harold Love, who was instrumental in passing the legislation.
Individuals receiving the recognition represent the many dimensions of community service – volunteer work, public service, charitable service, and leadership roles in community organizations. They serve as ambassadors for community service among the many diverse higher education communities in Tennessee.
While Calvert notes her service is rooted in community growth and development, rather than individual achievement, she is appreciative of the College’s administration and staff for the nomination.
“It’s always difficult to tout yourself particularly when you’re not seeking accolades or awards,” Calvert said. “But it was rewarding to receive the honor.”
Calvert said her dedication to service was instilled at an early age, watching her parents and other adults giving back to the community. She also lists Dr. Harold Middlebrook – a noted civil rights leader and long-time Knoxville minister – as a role model.
“I’ve always seen people giving back – it was nothing out of the ordinary,” Calvert said. “I was taught that ‘to whom much is given, much is required” and that it’s not a matter of holding onto to what you have, but rather being open to giving back…if you never open your hands to give, you can never receive.”
THEC will honor Calvert and other recipients on April 24 at a reception in Nashville. Each recipient will receive a $1,000 cash prize.
Calvert earned her bachelor’s degree at the Mississippi University for Women and her master’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She taught middle school in Mississippi and Knoxville before moving on to teach college math at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville. She later became department chair of the Mathematics and Sciences Division at the College.
After nine years at Pellissippi, Calvert accepted a position as dean of the Liberal Arts academic division at Northeast State in 1989. Three major programs that are still a part of the College were instituted during her tenure: Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, The Honors Program, and Echoes and Images, the award-winning literary magazine.
She was later named dean of Economic and Community Development/Community Education at Northeast State. She held that position until 2007 when she became director of College Access Programs.
In her current role, Calvert seeks to secure available federal and state grant money to fund programs at Northeast State. Under her guidance the College has landed grants from the State of Tennessee, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship.
Her current community volunteerism includes the Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority Board of Commission, Hands On! Regional Museum, and United Way of Greater Kingsport Vision Council. Calvert recently earned the Bristol YWCA’s Tribute to Women Award in 2013 for work and dedication in the area of education.