GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Former Vice President Mike Pence was in Greeneville recently as the featured speaker at the Niswonger Foundation’s Summer Leadership Institute for the Scholarship and Leadership Program.

Scott Niswonger, chairman and founder of the foundation, extended the invitation to Pence.

“A key part of the Niswonger Scholars’ experience is to ensure they have a clear understanding of their role as productive citizens of our community, state and nation,” Niswonger said in a release. “We introduce them to great thinkers, individuals who are willing to step up into the most challenging leadership roles. Certainly, Vice President Mike Pence is a great example for them to follow.”

According to the release, Pence greeted the Niswonger Scholars and called them the “rising generation of Tennessee leaders.”

The foundation said Pence described himself as first, a Christian; then, a conservative; and then, a Republican, in that order.

The former vice president encouraged the group to learn how government works and to appreciate the sacrifices made by those who served. He also reminded them that “integrity is doing the right thing even when no one else is looking, and even when it is hard,” according to the release.

The foundation said Pence shared three areas of advice for the Niswonger Scholars:

  • Remember that character is destiny. Adversity does not create character – it reveals character. Take time for faith, devotion, and prayer;
  • Study the principles of American freedom. Our freedom is, always, just one generation away from extinction: and
  • Have Fun. That is a freedom. Winners have fun.

The scholars were given the opportunity to ask Pence questions.

The Niswonger Scholars is a leadership and scholarship program with scholars selected through a nomination process that seeks to identify future leaders of the region. Scholarships are offered in 17 school districts across Northeast Tennessee.