By Bob Fowler
Roane State staff writer
Banners commemorating the 50th anniversary of Roane State Community College and the Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Harriman now line Rockwood’s main thoroughfare.
The 10 large banners are on utility poles from Wheeler Street to Rockwood Street on Gateway Avenue near the downtown district. Each features a photo of a graduate of either Roane State or TCAT-Harriman in wardrobes representing professions in which they acquired expertise during their studies.
The signs are also on display on the college’s flagship campus in Roane County.
“Roane State and TCAT-Harriman have been community partners with all of us for all these years,” said Becky Ruppe, Rockwood city administrator and recorder.
“Roane State and TCAT-Harriman are so grateful to the City of Rockwood for generously displaying these banners to honor our 50th anniversaries,” Roane State President Dr. Chris Whaley said. “The city is such a wonderful partner to our institutions and special thanks to Mayor Mike Miller and City Administrator Becky Ruppe, a Roane State alum, and to her granddaughter, Jayden, who graduated this semester.”
“I also want to thank Mayor Miller, the City of Rockwood and City Administrator Becky Ruppe for her role celebrating 50 years with two higher education institutions located in Roane County,” added TCAT-Harriman President Danice Turpin. “The banners on Gateway Avenue depict a sampling of the training fields offered locally.”
Plans for the displays had been in the works for months but were delayed by the pandemic. “COVID slowed everything down,” Ruppe said.
While Roane State’s main campus has a Harriman address, it’s next to the Rockwood city limits. “We claim them,” Ruppe said. “Roane State is near and dear to me… It’s as much Rockwood as it is Harriman.”
Ruppe said the banners will remain on display in Rockwood at least through the summer months.