The Tennessee Board of Regents today appointed Dr. George J. Pimentel as the next president of Jackson State Community College, effective July 1. A U.S. Army infantry veteran, he has been vice president of academic affairs at Volunteer State Community College since 2014 and has 26 years of teaching and academic administrative experience.
The Board also appointed Brian Lapps Jr. as its next general counsel, serving the Board and the College System of Tennessee – the state’s 40 community and technical colleges governed by the Board of Regents. He has 27 years of experience as an attorney in public and private practice, including his current role as division counsel at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and previously as deputy general counsel at the University of Tennessee.
TBR Chancellor Flora W. Tydings recommended the two new administrators following separate, months-long national search processes that included Board members and, at Jackson State, representatives of various campus constituencies and the broader community.
As the sixth president in Jackson State’s 53 years of serving students, Pimentel will succeed Dr. Allana Hamilton, who was appointed the College System of Tennessee’s vice chancellor of academic affairs last fall, and Dr. Jeff Sisk, who has served as interim president and remains president of the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology in Jackson and Whiteville.
“I never imagined that I would become a college president when I began my career over 25 years ago, and I am honored and grateful to the Chancellor and the Board for trusting me with this opportunity,” Pimentel said. “I’m looking forward to working with Jackson State faculty and staff as we continue to help our students overcome barriers to education and unlock their potential.”
“This is an unprecedented time; students now more than ever need the opportunities that community college can provide through workforce development, collaborative partnerships and educational opportunities. Together, I believe we can make a real difference in people’s lives, and in their communities, and I am excited to engage with community and business leaders as we work together to make that happen.
“I also want to thank Dr. Jerry Faulkner and the Vol State faculty and staff for their support, and for their unwavering commitment to student success. Vol State was my home for twenty years and it will always hold a special place in my heart,” Pimentel said.
He earned his Doctor of Arts in History, Educational Specialist, Master of Arts in History and Bachelor of Arts in History degrees at Middle Tennessee State University. He began his higher education career in 1994 as MTSU’s coordinator of continuing education, then as assistant to the dean of the university’s College of Liberal Arts. He was also an adjunct professor of history there.
Pimentel moved to Volunteer State in 2001 as a professor of history, and continued teaching during his tenures as chair of the Department of History, Economics, Geography and Political Science from 2005 to 2009 and as director of the honors program from 2011 to 2014 when he was elevated to the college’s chief academic officer as vice president of academic affairs.
Jackson State is a comprehensive community college with its main campus in Jackson and three branch centers in Humboldt, Lexington and Savannah serving 14 West Tennessee counties. Fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), it is an Achieving the Dream college committed to student success. It enrolls nearly 5,000 credit students, including more than 1,200 dual-enrolled high school students.
Lapps earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence at the Vanderbilt University School of Law and his Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in History at the University of Notre Dame. At TBR, he will lead a staff of attorneys at the system office in Nashville.
“I’d Iike to thank the Board, Chancellor Tydings and the Search Committee for their confidence in me,” he said. “This is an exciting opportunity. I look forward to working with the Chancellor, her staff, the system office, and the campuses as we help make a difference for TBR students and the State of Tennessee.”
Lapps began his law career in 1993 at Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis in Nashville, where he was a partner from 2001 to 2009 when he was appointed deputy general counsel of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He returned to Nashville in 2018 as division counsel at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. His career includes extensive labor and employment, litigation and higher education law and management experience.
Tydings thanked members of the search advisory committees who assisted in the search for the two new leaders.