Purkey to Deliver Commencement Address at Walters State

Commissioner David Purkey, head of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, will be deliver the spring commencement address for Walters State Community College. Commencement begins at 10 a.m. on May 6 in the Walters State Great Smoky Mountains Expo Center.

The college will confer 1,352 degrees and certificates.

Purkey has dedicated his life to public service, beginning his career as a 911 dispatch officer and then serving as a state trooper with the Tennessee Highway Patrol. He also served as an officer in the Tennessee Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserves.

He went on to serve 15 years as Hamblen County mayor before retiring in 2010.

Purkey was appointed by Governor Bill Haslam to serve as the governor’s homeland security advisor and assistant commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. He served two years as director of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. He was appointed to his current position by the governor in 2016.

Purkey holds degrees in public health from East Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee. He has been a licensed emergency medical technician for the past 35 years.

The commencement ceremony, including the address, will be video streamed live at www.ws.edu.

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