Haslam: Pellissippi pitch helped sell Tennessee Promise

Pellissippi State Technical Community College’s Tennessee Achieves scholarship program was the model for the statewide Tennessee Promise progam and Gov. Bill Haslam told graduates of the college Saturday that helped him promote the idea, reports the News Sentinel.

“We were able to sell it because of the success you’ve had,” he said Saturday night during the Knoxville community college’s spring commencement exercises at the University of Tennessee’s Thompson-Boling Arena. “You are the role model and foundation.”

The governor was referring to his “Drive to 55” campaign, part of which will allow Tennessee high school graduates to attend a state community college or technical school for free through the Tennessee Promise scholarship program.

Haslam told the roughly 500 graduates that the reason for the program is that, in 10 years, 55 percent of all jobs in Tennessee will require some kind of degree or certificate.

“Right now only about 33 percent have a degree or certificate,” he said. “By graduating tonight, you are part of a bigger purpose of what we are trying to do.”

Much of the governor’s 10-minute keynote address dealt with the more typical graduation speech topics.

Included were five pieces of advice to each of the graduates — be a good learner and listener, be a person of grace, be a person of humility, be a person who learns to live with disappointment without being bitter, and work hard.