Jim Pulliam’s name is well-known in his native North Carolina, but Trevecca Nazarene University is making sure he’s remembered long into the future.
The university recently announced plans to create Pulliam Plaza, a new gathering space on the steps of the existing Jernigan Student Center, which houses the Apple Dining Room, university bookstore, and more. Announced during the university’s November 4 Founder’s Day luncheon, the project will feature expanded outdoor seating, a double-sided fireplace, a small amphitheater, and a fire pit.
“I can honestly say that he’s been a part of some of the most important decisions of my life, my walk with Christ, my college, and my career decisions,” said Holly Whitby, associate provost and dean of enrollment management, who honored Pulliam in an emotional presentation during the luncheon. “I’m 43 years old, and he has been a rock in my life since I was 12.”
During the presentation, Whitby recounted Pulliam’s influence in her own life, first as her youth pastor, then as a trusted friend, adviser, and mentor.
“As a high school student, Jim helped me shop for a car. He helped me to learn to drive a stick shift and made sure I made it to Trevecca multiple times for college visits,” Whitby said. “As an adult, Jim has counseled me through career decisions, helped me start my own consulting firm, file my first corporate taxes, and encouraged me to come work for Trevecca.”
Whitby’s story should sound familiar to those who know Pulliam best. According to her, Pulliam’s life — characterized by generosity, love and selflessness — has had far-reaching effects.
“I am just one — one of many — who have stories like this about Jim Pulliam and how he poured his life into young people, into pastors … and into the North Carolina district,” Whitby said. “Jim has served the Nazarene church faithfully for 50 years, and not only has he been faithful to our church, but he has also served on the Trevecca Board of Trustees for over 20 years. He’s the reason many of us from North Carolina fell in love with Trevecca.”
In September, Whitby and others began to discuss how they could honor Pulliam. Around the same time, Trevecca officials had begun discussing a much-needed project to restore the exterior stairs of the Jernigan Student Center. According to Whitby, she and many of Pulliam’s closest friends — including his church and the North Carolina District of the Church of the Nazarene — decided to take on the project as their own.
“In about one month, Jim, your friends and family, your church, and your district raised approximately 75 thousand dollars to name this project in your honor,” Whitby said. “This will be a great congregation area for our students and our community, and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this honor than you.”
Dan Boone is excited the project will bear Pulliam’s name.
“This is the spot on campus where you get a gorgeous view [of downtown Nashville],” Boone said during the luncheon. “This plaza will be a significant gathering place for our university. For years and years to come, Pulliam Plaza will be a part of the normal announcement of where things are held on campus.”
For Whitby, who led the drive to name the project in Pulliam’s honor, the joy of naming the plaza after the man who has meant so much to her personally is difficult to put into words.
“I have two middle school boys, and I would be thrilled if they grew up to be anything like you, Jim,” she said during the presentation. “We love you and appreciate you, and we look forward to naming Pulliam Plaza after you.”
To learn more or give, visit trevecca.edu/campaign.