ETSU celebrates the dedication of the James and Nellie Brinkley Center

Published 1:58 pm Monday, April 24, 2023

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JOHNSON CITY – East Tennessee State University celebrated the legacy of two individuals with the dedication of the James and Nellie Brinkley Center.
Known for more than 20 years as the Millennium Center, the Brinkley Center is named in memory of benefactors James and Nellie Brinkley. The late James Brinkley attended University School on the (then) East Tennessee State College campus. It was there where he first met his future wife, Nellie.
He began his academic journey at ETSC; however, his education was interrupted by service in the United States Navy. After serving in the Pacific and receiving an honorable discharge, he returned to campus and completed his undergraduate degree in business administration in 1960.
For 25 years, James worked with the Social Security Administration in Tennessee, Alabama and Florida, and Nellie became a real estate agent. Together, the couple opened car washes and developed a manufactured home community in Orange Park, Florida.
The Brinkley Center will provide classroom and academic office space for the ETSU Department of Computing, which is part of the College of Business and Technology and offers both B.S. and M.S. degrees in computer and information science and a graduate certificate in data analytics.
The department also partners with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee to offer the BlueSky Tennessee Institute, where computing students can earn a degree in 27 months and receive a job offer from the health care company.
“Computing programs prepare students for careers in computer science, cybersecurity and modern networks, information systems, and information technology,” said Dr. Kimberly D. McCorkle, provost and senior vice president for Academics at ETSU. “These are fast-growing fields and demand is high for graduates. To meet that demand, we need state-of-the-art classrooms and computer lab space for teaching and research.
“This building has afforded us room to grow and to offer our students, staff and faculty a dedicated space for not only classrooms, but communal areas where they can network and build community. On any given day, these halls and rooms are full of students who are preparing for high-impact careers in our region and beyond,” McCorkle added.
According to the websites and, the ETSU computing program is ranked the No. 1 “2021 Best College for Computer Information Systems in Tennessee” and the No. 2 “Best Computer and Information Sciences College in Tennessee for 2021,” respectively.
“Acts of generosity, kindness and service have fueled the success of this institution for the past 114 years,” said ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland. “These acts have made a positive and lasting impact on the lives of countless students and have helped advance the university’s mission to improve the quality of life for people in the region and beyond.
“Mr. and Mrs. Brinkley are among those who have helped build this legacy. Through their generous contributions, they have impacted many lives for the better by providing educational opportunities through scholarships. They have made the dream of a college education a reality for those who thought they could not afford it.”

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