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UT Recognized for Exceptional Communications Efforts

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KNOXVILLE -– The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture and the UT System Office of Communications won six awards from the Volunteer Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, including three first-place honors.

The awards were announced April 16 at the annual celebration dinner hosted by the local PRSA chapter. Of the six UT awards presented, three went to the UT Institute of Agriculture and three to the UT System.

The UT Institute of Agriculture’s Marketing and Communications Services department received a top honor, an Award of Excellence, for the Center for Profitable Agriculture’s “Agritourism in Action” – Bus Tour Guide. Designed by Jean Hulsey, senior graphic designer, the booklet was recognized as an engaging and informative guide that included an itinerary, destination descriptions and contact information of participants and businesses visited during a three-state tour of agritourism operations.

The UT System Office of Communications won an Award of Excellence for the redesign and September 2008 launch of the UT System Web site, . The project was recognized for improving communication with key internal and external audiences and for enhancing visibility of the University’s goals and achievements. The redesign project was led by Erik Bledsoe, assistant director of Creative Services, and Darren Hughes, communications manager of Alumni Affairs, as well as Communications Coordinator Ellie Amador.

The Award of Excellence also went to the UT System for a video presentation explaining the significance of the National Science Foundation’s historic $65-million grant that enabled UT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to build and operate one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers. The presentation was produced by Russ Hollingsworth, executive producer of UTTV with the UT Video and Photography Center, and directed by Meredith LeCroy, UT assistant director of communications and manager of marketing.

The UT System Office of Communications also won an Award of Quality -– the only award given in the one-day-or-less special events and observances category -– for the April 2008 National Science Foundation Award Celebration event. The NSF event was organized by UT Assistant Vice President for Communications Gina Stafford and Director of Special Events Brian Gard and was held at UT’s Joint Institute for Computational Sciences on the ORNL campus. It received extensive national and international press coverage and was attended by more than 100 guests including Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen; Michael Strayer, associate director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Advanced Scientific Computing; and Dan Atkins, director of the National Science Foundation’s Office of Cyberinfrastructure.

An Award of Quality also went to the Institute of Agriculture’s Marketing and Communications department for the recruitment poster “Bioenergy Concentration: Fuel of the Future.” The piece was created by graphic designer Kim Stallings for the College of Agricultural Science and Natural Recourses (CASNR) Plant Sciences Department and was recognized for its creative approach to attracting students to this new area of study.

“Ground Penetrating Radar,” a television news feature produced by Charles Denney and Doug Edlund for the Institute’s Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science department, won an Award of Merit. To watch the video, go to


Category: Announcements