LORETTO, Tenn.—Members of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce gathered Thursday night for their 72nd Annual Membership Meeting bringing the business community and government officials together for an update on economic development and to name the 2021 Citizens of the Year.
“It has been the privilege of a lifetime to work alongside the hundreds of people that made the college possible,” stated Lawrence County Executive T.R. Williams. “Cissy has been working to equip the next generation her entire career, building our educational pipeline to maximum capacity. Jim led the charge to give her the tools to increase that capacity, managing an effort that many thought to be impossible. The merits of their individual accomplishments qualify them for this honor, but together they represent the best of Lawrence County and our commitment to the future. For this reason, I am proud to congratulate Jim Cone and Cissy Holt for being selected as the 2021 Citizens of the Year.”
Jim Cone began serving as the project manager for the Southern Tennessee Higher Education Center in 2015. In this role, he orchestrated the many groups of volunteers associated with the founding of the Lawrence County Higher Education Commission (LCHEC), fundraising for, and the construction of the new campus. Cone now serves as the Chairman of the Lawrence County Higher Education Commission, building partnerships between the institutions that call the Southern Tennessee Higher Education Center “home.”
Cissy Hurst Holt began her career at Columbia State Community College as an adjunct instructor of English in 1992. She has since served as the Nighttime Coordinator, Full-time Campus Coordinator, Dean of Regional Services for the Southern Campuses of Columbia State, and now serves as Vice President for Student Affairs for the entire Columbia State system. Locally, Holt is known for her tireless efforts to ensure every student has access to higher education.
Both Cone and Holt played key roles in developing the Southern Tennessee Higher Education Center here in Lawrence County. Together, they attended countless meetings with partnering institutions, stakeholders, and contractors, conducted numerous building walk-throughs, and completed countless unnamed tasks related to the completion of STHEC.
Because of their diligent service to seeing this project through, students in the region now have access to a pursue a post-secondary four-year degree.
“Traditionally, Lawrence County’s Citizen of the year has been an individual that finds a problem and solves it. Some problems are solved quickly with a few dozen people, others take years and hundreds of volunteers,” explained Ryan Egly, Lawrence County Chamber President & CEO. “Many great citizens were nominated that have solved many problems for the good of our community, but this year—breaking with tradition—we recognize two individuals for the impact they have made to advance higher education. Congratulations!”
About the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce
The Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce is a network of businesses, industries, local governments, utilities, and private citizens that are committed to improving the quality of life in Lawrence County, Tennessee through economic development, community development, tourism marketing, and workforce development.