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Winners of 2023 President’s Awards Announced

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President's Award

MEMPHIS—University of Tennessee System President Randy Boyd announced the recipients of the 2023 President’s Awards. The announcement was made during the annual UT Board of Trustees meeting held in Memphis.

Fourteen faculty and staff members from across the UT System received awards to celebrate their accomplishments and dedication to the Be One UT values. These values are intended to shape culture across the system, build purpose, improve team cohesion and create a shared sense of commitment in the workplace. Recipients were nominated by campus and institute leaders and are selected annually from a system-wide pool. They will be honored by the president and his Be One UT cabinet at a special luncheon on Aug. 3 in Nashville.

“Our ‘Be One UT’ values are not just a philosophy, but a concrete way we define our culture and way of doing business,” Boyd said. “These award recipients exemplify who we are, as well as who we continually aspire to be in serving the people of Tennessee.”

The President’s Awards were established in 2016 to annually recognize the accomplishments of faculty and staff, from across the UT System with the mission to educate, discover and connect. Additionally, the awards celebrate and acknowledge outstanding contributions in the areas of support and diversity.

The President’s Awards are the highest honor a UT employee can receive from the University. Winners receive commemorative plaques and a monetary award of $3,000.

Award recipients represent UT Knoxville, UT Health Science Center, UT Martin, UT Chattanooga, UT Institute of Agriculture, UT Institute for Public Service and UT System Administration. Learn more about the winners and their contributions to the state of Tennessee and their University.

Bold and Impactful Honorees:

Faculty: Dr. James Bailey
Professor and Robert S. Pearce Endowed Chair in Internal Medicine, Director for the Center for Health Systems Improvement, and Executive Director, Tennessee Population Health Consortium
UT Health Science Center

Staff: Melissa Smith
Coordinator of Student Services, College of Pharmacy
UT Health Science Center


  • Terri Clark – Senior Director of Prospect Development, Advancement Services, UT Foundation, Inc.
  • Jimmy Delaney – Associate Athletics Director of Marketing and Fan Experience, UT Knoxville
  • Virginia Grimes – Assistant Director of WestStar, UT Martin
  • Shewanee Howard-Baptiste – Vice Provost and Professor of Academic Affairs/Health and Human Performance, UT Chattanooga
  • John Lacey – System Strategist, UT System Division of Communications and Marketing
  • Bruce LaMattina – Senior Director for Aerospace and Defense, UT Space Institute at UT Knoxville
  • Paul Middlebrooks – APEX Director, Center for Industrial Services, Institute for Public Service
  • Debra Miller – Professor and Director, UTIA Center for Wildlife Health and Director, UT One Health Initiative, UT Knoxville


Embrace Diversity Honorees:

Faculty: Henrietta Giles
Lecturer, Department of Mass Media and Strategic Communications
UT Martin

Staff: Michelle Rigler
Executive Director, Disability Resource Center
UT Chattanooga


  • Michelle Deardorff – Adolph S. Ochs Professor of Government and Department Head of Political Science and Public Service, UT Chattanooga
  • Elisha Hodge – Legal Consultant, Municipal Technical Advisory Service, UT Institute for Public Service
  • Nury Magana – Associate Professor and Executive Director of Clinical Trials Unit, Bilingual Community Health Navigator for Office of Community Health Engagement, UT Health Science Center
  • David Shibata – Professor and Harwell Wilson Alumni Endowed Chair in Surgery, Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, UT Health Science Center


Optimistic and Visionary Honorees:

Faculty: Nan Gaylord
Associate Dean of Practice and Global Affairs, Professor, College of Nursing
UT Knoxville

Staff: Destin Tucker
Director, Undergraduate Admissions
UT Martin


  • Bradley Boucher – Professor and Interim Dean, Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Translational Science, College of Pharmacy, UT Health Science Center
  • Trent Clagg – Training Specialist, Naifeh Center for Effective Leadership, UT Institute for Public Service
  • Charlotte Henley – Administrative Associate, Office of the Executive Director, UT Space Institute at UT Knoxville
  • Charles Hicks, Jr. – Operations Manager, Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, UT Health Science Center
  • Hunter Holzhauer – Associate Professor, Robert L. Maclellan & UC Foundation Associate Professor of Finance, Rollins College of Business, UT Chattanooga
  • Valerie Parks – Associate Director of Facility Branding and Design, Athletics/Media Relations, UT Knoxville


Nimble and Innovative Honorees:

Faculty: Dr. David Rausch
Associate Dean, College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies
Program Director, Professor, Learning and Leadership Program
UT Chattanooga

Staff: Patricia Page
Senior Program Manager, Electronic Research Administration
UT Health Science Center


  • Angie Carrier – Program Manager, Municipal Technical Advisory Service, UT Institute for Public Service
  • Natalie Crippen – Academic Process Specialist, College of Social Work, UT Knoxville
  • Melissa Laseter – Director of Student Support Services, UT Chattanooga
  • Joseph Ostenson – Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, UT Martin
  • Dr. Gabor Tigyi – Harriet Van Vleet Endowed Professor in Basic Oncology, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research-Industry Relations and Global Cooperation, Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, UT Health Science Center


Excel In All We Do Honorees:

Faculty: Stephanie Kolitsch
Interim Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs
Director of Accreditation, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Liaison
UT Martin

Staff: Abeer Mustafa
Associate Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs
UT Chattanooga


  • Dr. Neil Hayes – Professor, Division Chief, Scientific Director, UT-West Institute of Cancer Research, College of Medicine, UT Health Science Center
  • Ron Loewen – Associate Vice President, Budget, Analysis and Planning, Finance and Administration, UT System
  • Jason McVeigh – Senior Associate Athletics Director of Sports Medicine and Sports Performance, Athletics, UT Knoxville
  • Gretchen Potts – Professor and Department Head, Biology, Geology and Environmental Science, UT Chattanooga
  • Kenny Smith – Solutions Consultant, Center for Industrial Services, UT Institute for Public Service
  • Sherry Warford – Supervisor of Laboratory Animal Care Unit, UT Health Science Center
  • Leslie Wereszcak – Director, Small Animal Clinical Sciences, UT Institute of Agriculture


United and Connected Honorees:

Faculty: Clinton Smith
Professor, Chair, Department of Educational Studies
UT Martin

Staff: Tomi Rogers
Manager, Human Resources and Operations
UT Institute for Public Service


  • Laurie Allen – Executive Director, Professor of Practice, Lyndhurst Chair of Excellence in Arts Education, Arts-Based Collaborative, Southeast Center for Education in the Arts, UT Chattanooga
  • Kaycee Edwards – Financial Professional I/Business Manager, Finance Department, UT Space Institute at UT Knoxville
  • Denise Jilka – Director of Academic Services, Thornton Athletics Student Life Center, UT Knoxville
  • Karen Lasater – Clinical Professor, College of Nursing, UT Knoxville
  • Bonnie Ownley – Professor, Entomology and Plant Pathology, UT Institute of Agriculture
  • Theresa Liedtdka – Dean, UTC Library, UT Chattanooga
  • Cindy Williamson –Director of Assessment and SAC/SCOC Liaison, Planning, Evaluation, and Institutional Research, UT Chattanooga


Transparent and Trusted Honorees:

Faculty: Dr. Heather Sedges
Associate Professor of Human Development, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences
UT Knoxville, UT Extension

Staff: Charles Primm
Public Records Coordinator, Division of Communications and Marketing
UT System


  • Tara Brooks – Associate Athletics Director of Administration, Athletics, UT Knoxville
  • Ashley Bynum – Assistant Athletic Director, Compliance, Athletics, UT Martin
  • Ronald Davis – Manager of Teaching and Learning Center, UT Health Science Center
  • Tom Ellis – Assistant Vice Chancellor for Operations, Facilities, Planning & Management, UT Chattanooga
  • Melisa Kelton – County Government Consultant, County Technical Assistance Service, UT Institute for Public Service
  • Missy Miller – Administrative Associate, College of Nursing, UT Knoxville
  • Dr. Natascha Thompson – Associate Professor, Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education, College of Medicine, UT Health Science Center



Melissa Tindell
505 Summer Place, UT Tower, Knoxville, TN 37902 

Natalie Keener
505 Summer Place, UT Tower, Knoxville, TN 37902  

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Category: Announcements