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Saturday, September 18, 2021

How Did I Get Here?

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Good Morning Bulldog Nation!

I bring you greetings on behalf of our Chair Michael V Bowie, the Board of Trustees, Administration, Faculty and Staff. 

Five months ago, I was appointed by the Board of Trustees as Interim President on January 4, 2021 and honestly, I had to ask myself how did I get here?

I was introduced to the name Knoxville College from my best friend Keith Bowman in 1988 at Detroit’s finest Pershing High School. There is a longer story to share but in short, he informed me that he’d applied, was accepted, received scholarship support (we all know what that was lol) towards his tuition and to play baseball.  As most best friends we were of like ideas and thought it would be awesome to attend the same college. I asked him to share the contact information which he did immediately and the rest is history. Fall of 1988 both single mother households loaded up and traveled to the campus on the hill known as dear ole Knoxville College. Thank you, Keith Bowman for sharing and being a true friend.  

During my time at KC I was a very active student completing my studies requirements in December 1993 and blessed to walk across that Colston Performing Arts stage in May 1994.  I did miss a year as I joined the armed services as other students and was deployed to the Persian Gulf war “Desert Storm”. Special shout out to all KC veterans, Go Army.

After graduating I took my talents to Atlanta, GA to work for the family business one of the largest minority female (my mother) owned employment and transportation companies in the southern region. After 6 years and the sale of our company it was time for me to explore my entrepreneurial ambitions. In 2001 I founded Quest Communities a GA based 501c3 non-profit organization with a mission to create resilient communities and foster social equity through collaboration and service integration. ​Our Vision is to perfect a collective impact model using affordable housing and a services delivery hub as vehicles for community revitalization. ​Twenty years later Quest Communities is thriving as the leading comprehensive community development organization (CDC) throughout Georgia.

Since graduating as most I engaged the local alumni chapter sporadically at best, but in 2013ish I decided with some pushing and pulling from alumnus Russell Sellars, Julia White and Evit Smith to get more involved with the local Atlanta chapter.  In 2014 the Atlanta Chapter and Russell Sellars recommended me to the Board of Trustees and during the 2014 Homecoming I was voted to the Board of Trustees and became active January 2015. If I remember correctly there were only 5 Trustees at the time. Over the next 6-7 years I would hold positions as the Building and Grounds Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary and experienced our beloved college in an extreme crisis mode, to a leveling out of sort and positioning toward revitalization.  As a trustee there were some successes and failures to say the least.  As I reflected and welcomed the possibility of hanging up my Board duties to make way for new blood and bam it happened…….

On December 31, 2020 after three years of service Dr. Keith Lindsey stepped down.  His work over the 3 years is to be commended and applauded as he and his administration took on the challenge of operating Knoxville College which was on a shoestring budget, had limited staff, with zero students, experiencing infrastructure nightmares and the list goes on.  Over those 3 years areas of insufficiency and non-compliance were addressed and should be highlighted. The previous administration launched “Knoxville College Online” our distance learning platform, structured an internal infrastructure made up of hired talent and 3rd party professional contractors and balanced the budget as best possible. 

SO, if you see Dr. Keith Lindsey, whom is still with us as faculty during homecoming or on one of our social media platforms please give him a pat on the back and a huge THANK YOU.

Now for the big decision. This was a very tough decision for me to accept this appointment and probably just as tough for the Board of Trustees.  After multiple conversations with my network, friends, family and self-reflection I said “how often in a life time does it happen that a young wide-eyed freshman attends, graduate, serves on the Board on Trustees and become appointed the President” of the institution that has played such an important part in his life. Knoxville College and my experiences related to Knoxville College has made me into the person I am today.  So yes, I can give of my time, talent and treasure to her as she has given so much to me.

There you have it. I am your new leader. They call me IP Adams!

It is now my job to build the necessary capacity and supports to take Knoxville College from surviving to the thriving.

One may ask how will I manage this and how long will it take? Well this will not be an overnight wave of the wand and like magic Knoxville College enrollment soars through the roof, buildings are a new and there is an abundant of operating and reserve funding, as your Interim President I will commit the time, energy, knowledge, skills and listening necessary to address the most pressing items first which can be found in the new 2021-2024 strategic plan and chip away at those items that afford us time to do so.

In an effort to ensure information is being shared, I am honored this day to inform you that we have relaunched the Knoxville College “Aurora Newsletter” as a tool to engage with our base, inform stakeholders and be a landing place for those interested in the college and its movements. 

Again, we want this to be the leading platform to be in the know about Knoxville College so take a few minutes to review the content and share with others.

I’m hopeful this has somewhat brought everyone up to speed to ensure we are all of the same understanding and that our messaging is succinct.  We have plenty of opportunities before us, but it will take us all.  Please get active in your local chapter, join KCNAA and stay connected.  There will come a time when KC will need you, prepare to answer that call as I have.

IP Adams out.

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