Deborah Joyner


Deborah has worked in higher education for her entire career and has been at East Tennessee State University for 40 years. Previously, she served as Associate Dean for Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development in the Quillen College of Medicine and the Director of Market Development at the Millennium Centre in a University/City of Johnson City partnership. She currently is Assistant Vice Provost in the Office of Academic Affairs working with off-campus centers serving students and communities that need higher education opportunities extending ETSU’s reach throughout Tennessee, and neighboring states.

Deborah has always been a student of the world and has lived and travelled aboard extensively. She has especially enjoyed her interaction with International Students at ETSU. She holds a BS and Master’s Degree from ETSU and Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee. Deborah is “Forever a Buccaneer” and is a member of the ETSU President’s Trust. She received in 2018 the Milton Phillips Award for Lifelong Learning from the Tennessee Alliance for Continuing Higher Education.

Volunteerism is an important part of Deborah’s life and she served as one of three chairs in the initial fundraising to build the now Niswonger Children’s Hospital. For 10 years she served as the hospital’s mascot, “Scrubs the Bear”. She has been the recipient of the Tom Chase Award for her leadership and support of community health care. She has also served as Event Chair in 2012 and 2013 for the One Singular Sensational Evening Fundraiser Event for the Children’s Hospital. In addition, she also serves on a NCH Advisory Council and previously, the Washington County Foundation Advisory Board for Mountain States Health Alliance. She has chaired and participated on committees for the Spirit Gala, Celebrity Golf Tournament for NCH. Deborah volunteers for the Crumley House a rehabilitation facility for the brain injured. She is so pleased to be included as a board member for the Frontier Health Foundation Board.

She was the recipient of the Health Care Heros 2017 “Cup of Kindness” Award and 2015 Outstanding Volunteer of the Year for Mountain State Health Alliance Foundation. Most recently in 2018, Deborah spearheaded the fundraising and re-opening of the Healing Garden at the Johnson City Medical Center in memorial to her late husband, Bill.

In the community, Deborah has served on the Conventional and Visitor’s Council for Johnson City, served as Ambassador for City of Kingsport, a former CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer working as a child advocate. She has also participated in Leadership 2015 for the City of Johnson City and served on the Board for the Senior Center of Johnson City. She currently participates with the Economic Development Council for Sevier County, Tennessee to promote workforce solutions through education in support of the Partners in Progress Scholarship and the Governor Haslam’s Drive to 55 Education Grant.

Deborah resides in Kingsport with her six pint sized pups and three cats.