Board of Regents appoints new presidents of Volunteer State Community College & Tennessee College of Applied Technology McMinnville

Dr. Orinthia Montague, Dr. Melody Edmonds

The Tennessee Board of Regents today appointed Dr. Orinthia T. Montague as the next president of Volunteer State Community College and Dr. Melody Edmonds as the next president of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology McMinnville, both effective Sept. 1.

The board’s unanimous action in a special called meeting approved Chancellor Flora W. Tydings’ recommendations of both candidates. The chancellor’s recommendations followed national searches led by search advisory committees at each of the two colleges, the selection of three to four finalists for each presidency, and campus visits and forums that enabled the public and college communities to participate in the process.

Dr. Montague will succeed Dr. Jerry Faulkner, who is retiring Aug. 31 after more than nine years as Vol State’s third president. She has been president of Tompkins Cortland Community College in Dryden, New York, since 2017. The public college, which also has extension sites in Cortland and Ithaca, NY, is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) System.

“I am humbled and honored to be confirmed by the Tennessee Board of Regents as the fourth president of Volunteer State Community College,” Montague said. “As the College celebrates its 50th anniversary I am excited to join the community. I look forward to continuing to build upon the great work already in place at Vol State as we look towards our next 50 years.”  

She earned her Ph.D. in higher education administration at the University of Missouri - St. Louis, a Master of Arts degree in counseling at Lindenwood College and a Bachelor of Arts in interpersonal communication at Truman State University. Prior to her service in New York, she was vice president of student affairs and chief diversity officer, and dean of students, at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, MN. She earlier served at the University of Missouri – St. Louis, including as associate vice provost and dean of students.

At TCAT McMinnville, Dr. Edmonds will succeed Nathan Garrett, who has served as interim president since the retirement of former president Warren Laux last year. Edmonds has been assistant vice president for academic affairs at Motlow State Community College for two years, after three years as interim vice president for academic affairs. She served as director and academic dean of Motlow’s McMinnville Center from 2000 to 2016, and has held faculty and administrative positions at Motlow since joining the college in 1995 as an assistant professor of business and information systems technology.

“Being selected as the next TCAT McMinnville President is a true honor,” Edmonds said. “I am humbled by the confidence placed in me to work with the wonderful faculty and staff at this institution. My passion is helping students be successful and preparing the skilled workers needed for our community, and I will maintain that consistent focus. I eagerly anticipate the engagement with students, faculty, staff, and all of the community partners as we start this new chapter together.”

She earned her Ed.D. in higher educational leadership at East Tennessee State University, a Master of Business Administration at Tennessee Technological University, a Bachelor of Science in accounting at Middle Tennessee State University, and an Associate of Science at Motlow State Community College.

Tydings said both new presidents will serve their colleges and communities well. “I’m proud that Dr. Edmonds and Dr. Montague are joining us as presidents. They both highly value the success of their students and their communities, and they will serve with integrity, honor and professionalism,” she said.

The chancellor thanked Faulkner for his 27 years of service in the College System of Tennessee, including faculty and academic administrative service at Chattanooga State and Cleveland State community colleges prior to assuming the Vol State presidency in 2012. She also thanked Garrett, who will return to the Board of Regents system office as assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs, for his service as interim president at McMinnville.

Edmonds’ and Montague’s complete resumés and other information about the searches are available on the TBR website at https://www.tbr.edu/hr/executivesearches. The search advisory committees at both colleges included members of the Board of Regents and representatives of the colleges’ faculty, students, staff and alumni and local business and community leaders. Regent MaryLou Apple chaired the Vol State search committee and Regent Joey Hatch chaired the TCAT McMinnville search committee.

Vol State is a comprehensive, two-year public community college primarily serving 11 northern Middle Tennessee counties. In addition to its main campus in Gallatin, it has campuses in Cookeville, Livingston and Springfield.  Learn more about Vol State at https://www.volstate.edu/.

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology McMinnville is a premier provider of career and technical education for students from eight counties, through its main campus in McMinnville, an instructional center in Manchester and at area high schools. Learn more about TCAT McMinnville at https://tcatmcminnville.edu/.

The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 140,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.