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UT System Celebrates with President’s Council Awards, Showcase

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UT System President Randy Body (left) with Philip Wenk (right) at the Presidents Council Awards

For Immediate ReleaseNovember 20, 2023

KNOXVILLE – The University of Tennessee President’s Council held its ninth annual showcase and awards dinner on Nov. 17, in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

President’s Council members heard from UTC Chancellor Steve Angle about the strategic plan and vision for the campus, as well as from Kim White, UTC vice chancellor of advancement, regarding upcoming initiatives that to further enhance the educational experience for students. Throughout the day, members had the opportunity to attend multiple walking tours to learn more about UTC’s industry partnerships, mechatronics, student career empowerment and more. Additionally, Mina Sartipi, founding director of UTC’s Center for Urban Informatics and Progress, discussed safer and more efficient mobility solutions enabled by smart infrastructure, AI and quantum technologies.

After the day’s activities, members attended the President’s Council awards dinner at the Westin Chattanooga. UT System President Randy Boyd delivered keynote remarks, while UTC’s Percussion Ensemble, directed by Ethan McDaniel, provided the evening’s entertainment.

The dinner honored four UT alumni leaders for their service to the University.

“Each recipient embodies the spirit of service and leadership that is at the heart of our mission,” Boyd said. “Their commitment not only enriches our present but also fortifies our future. They also further solidify the foundation upon which the University’s legacy of excellence and community service is built.”

Lee Ann Adams, a 1994 UT Knoxville alumna, was inducted into the UT Alumni Association (UTAA) Past President’s Council. Adams is a longtime leader in the alumni association—she was appointed to serve on the UTAA Board of Governors as the representative of the UTAA Women’s Council. In 2018, she was elected to serve on the board for a three-year term and elected as president-elect in July 2020. Due to COVID-19, her term was extended and Adams officially became president of the alumni association in July 2022.

Allen Carter, a 1995 UT Knoxville graduate, received the President’s Council Service Award. Carter’s dedication to education at all levels can be seen in his service to the Tennessee Wesleyan University Board of Trustees, the UT President’s Council, the Advisory Council for UT Knoxville Chancellor Donde Plowman and the Baylor School Board of Trustees. Carter has been a key advocate for the UT Institute for Public Service’s Substance Misuse and Addiction Resource for Tennessee (SMART). He will also serve on the inaugural SMART Advisory Board beginning in 2024.

Jeff and Marla Gerber were honored with the UT Philanthropist of the Year Award. The Gerber’s established the Gerber Architecture Scholarship at the UT Knoxville College of Architecture and Design in August 2022. The gift of $5.5 million supports the Class of 2027 in the School of Architecture and currently benefits 82 students. This scholarship provides last-dollar assistance for tuition and fees for up to five years. It also provides a stipend for students in the cohort to buy a laptop and specialized software.

Philip Wenk, who serves on the UT Foundation Board, the UT President’s Council, as well as chair of the University Health Science Center Advisory Council, was presented with the Jim and Natalie Haslam Presidential Medal. After a 20-year career in dentistry, Wenk became CEO of Delta Dental of Tennessee in 2000. Delta Dental of Tennessee is the largest donor to the UT Health Science Center College of Dentistry. Since 1997, Delta Dental has provided financial support to the college totaling more than $19 million, including $6.3 million for construction costs toward the new Delta Dental of Tennessee building, plus $1.4 million in equipment and several endowed scholarship funds.

About the Awards

The President’s Council Service Award acknowledges exceptional service in the advancement of the University toward the achievement of excellence. Previous recipients include Lynne Fain (2020), Michael Strickland (2019), Thomas Griscom (2018), Waymon Hickman (2017), Phillip Fulmer (2016), Jim Duke (2015), Dr. Phil Wenk (2014), Michael T. Strickland (2013), Bill Blankenship (2012), Jim Powell (2011), Waymon Hickman (2010), Charles and the late Julie Wharton (2009), John Sorey (2008) and Charlie W. Brinkley, Jr. (2007).

Initiated in 2007, the Philanthropist of the Year Award goes to a donor who has made a significant gift to the University of Tennessee. It recognizes the profound impact a single gift can make to the University. Previous winners include H.J. Maxedon, Jr. (2020), Bill and Rosann Nunnelly (2019), Gary and Kathleen Rollins (2018), Bill Latimer (2017), Jim and Judi Herbert (2016), Jim and Sandy Powell (2015), Donnie and Terry Smith (2014), Dr. Bob Kaplan (2013), Brenda Lawson (2012), Charles and Moll Anderson (2011), John and Ann Tickle (2010), Tom and Kathleen Elam (2009), Barbara and Ralph Hamilton (2008) and Jane O. and David T. Bailey (2007).

The Jim and Natalie Haslam Presidential Medal was first awarded in 2007 to Sen. Howard H. Baker, Jr. In addition to exemplary giving, leadership and service, honorees demonstrate a willingness and ability to motivate others to support the University, show a lifelong commitment to UT and higher education and have personal history of integrity and excellence in all aspects of life. Other previous recipients include Sen. Lamar Alexander (2018), Jim and Sandy Powell (2017), Dr. Bob Kaplan (2016), John and Ann Tickle (2015), the late Hank Lauricella (2014) R. Clayton McWhorter (2013), Andrea Loughry (2012), former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen (2011), Scott L. Probasco Jr. (2010), the late Pat Summitt (2009) and Peyton Manning (2008).

Since its inception in 1965, the UT Alumni Association Past President’s Council has served as an advisory council to the alumni association and as a resource for current alumni programs.

About the President’s Council

The President’s Council is a constituency of alumni and friends who understand and support higher education broadly in Tennessee. It is comprised of volunteer leaders who have the opportunity to serve as the University’s premier advocates. The council is the UT System president’s core volunteer leadership group charged with advancing the System’s mission to serve the people of Tennessee and beyond through discovery, communication and application of knowledge necessary to create a cohesive, consistent and unifying system model of advancement.

About the UT System

The University of Tennessee is a statewide system of higher education with campuses in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Martin, Memphis and Pulaski; the UT Institute of Agriculture with a presence in every Tennessee county; and the statewide Institute for Public Service. The UT System manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory through its UT-Battelle partnership; enrolls about 54,000 students statewide; produces about 13,000 new graduates every year; and represents more than 445,000 alumni around the world.


View Event Photos



Melissa Tindell
400 W. Summit Hill Drive – UT Tower #1236

Natalie Keener
400 W. Summit Hill Drive – UT Tower

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Category: Announcements