Dorothy Lee Grisham, class of 1974, is the 2011 Outstanding Alumna. She attended ETSU at the urging of her parents, Robert E. and Mary Josephine Lee, who promised her that if she went to college for one year, she could leave to fulfill her ambition of attending secretarial school in Knoxville. After one year at the university, during which she developed friendships and a love of learning, she needed no promises or encouragement to return for a second year. A year and a half after graduation, Grisham interviewed with Allstate Insurance Co. and became the first African American female hired by the company in the state of Tennessee. Allstate relocated her in August 1976 to Chattanooga, where she continues to live and work.
Now the owner of Dorothy Grisham Allstate Insurance Agency, Grisham is active in the social and civic life of Chattanooga. She currently serves as chairperson of the Boy Scouts of America Urban Campaign for the Cherokee Council District and is a member of the Hamilton County Juvenile Foster Care Review Board and the Board of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Urban League.
Grisham has been an active member of the ETSU Alumni Association, in which she has held a number of leadership positions, including president. She and her husband, Art Grisham, are active members of New City Fellowship Presbyterian Church, where they also serve on various committees.