An inventor, a connector, a legend. These are just a few of the outstanding alumni who were honored by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, at its alumni board of directors awards dinner on September 7.
UT recognized eighteen outstanding alumni in four categories: Alumni Promise Award, Alumni Service Award, Alumni Professional Achievement Award, and Distinguished Alumni Award, which is the highest honor given.
Lowry Kline, former chair and CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises, serves as president of the board and emceed the event.
“These alumni exemplify the Volunteer spirit by doing remarkable things that make a big difference in the lives of others,” said Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. “They give back to enhance the learning experience for our students and set wonderful examples to be the best citizens they can be.”
The Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award recognizes those alumni who have attained extraordinary distinction and success in their chosen fields. Through their accomplishments, they have brought credit and acclaim to UT and have benefited society at large.
The winners of the Distinguished Alumna/Alumnus Award are:
Mark Dean, who holds three of the original nine patents on the standard IBM personal desktop computer, graduated in 1979 with a degree in electrical engineering. He is a native of Jefferson City, Tennessee. Dean’s work serves as the basis for all personal computers, earning him an induction into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame in 1997. He holds more than forty patents or patents pending and is currently the chief technology officer for IBM Middle East and Africa.
Larry Patrick, managing partner of Patrick Communications LLC, graduated in 1973 with a master’s degree in communications. Patrick has handled more than 500 radio and 150 television broadcasting deals worth more than $7 billion throughout his career. A pre-eminent broadcast workout and restructuring expert, he’s the IRS’s appraiser of choice for broadcast valuations.
Pat Summitt, the iconic Lady Vols basketball coach, is the all-time winning basketball coach in NCAA history (men and women’s), bringing notoriety and acclaim to UT for the past thirty-eight years. She’s won eight NCAA Women’s Basketball Championships, sixteen SEC Women’s Regular Season Basketball Championships, sixteen SEC Women’s Tournament Championships, and 1,098 games. She also has a 100 percent graduation rate for women who complete their eligibility at UT. Summitt captured the nation’s attention with her struggles with Alzheimer’s disease through her courage and honesty and the formation of the nonprofit Pat Summitt Foundation.
John and Ann Tickle, of Bristol, Virginia, exemplify the spirit of giving back through financial contributions and the giving of their time and enthusiasm. As vice chairs for the recent Campaign for Tennessee, the Tickles passion for and personal contributions to their alma mater have made a significant positive impact on UT. John, founder of Strongwell Corporation, graduated in 1965 with a degree in engineering. His wife, Ann, graduated in 1965 with a degree in education. Ann hosted Romper Room, a popular children’s educational show.
The Alumni Service Award recognizes exceptional long term continuing service and leadership to UT. The winners of the Alumni Service Award were:
- Charles W. Brinkley Jr., banker and senior vice president for First National Bankers Bank
- Sharon Miller Pryse, CEO and founder of The Trust Company of Knoxville
- Charles Wharton, attorney and president and CEO of Poplar Creek Farms
The Alumni Promise Award recognizes alumni forty years old or younger who have demonstrated distinctive achievement in their careers, civic involvement or both. The winners of the Alumni Promise Award were:
- Chad Speck, president and owner of Allegiant Athletic Agency
- Darris James, senior associate, global account manager, and design strategist at Gensler
- Stefan Duma, professor and department head of the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences
- Kara Lawson Barling, WNBA player for the Connecticut Sun and ESPN basketball analyst
- Kristin Qualls, TDOT project engineer for Henley Street Bridge Rehabilitation
The Alumni Professional Achievement Award recognizes individuals who have achieved impressive heights in their careers. The winners of the Alumni Professional Achievement Award were:
- Tom Bell, executive chairman of SecurAmerica LLC
- Charles Hankins, chief medical officer of Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus
- Hashem Mehrdad “Hash” Hashemian, founder of Analysis and Measurement Services Corporation
- Robin Klehr Avia, chair of Gensler’s Board of Directors executive committee
- Shirley Raines, president of the University of Memphis
The alumni board of directors provides advice and counsel to the university administration and guidance for alumni initiatives. To see past nominees, visit the Alumni Awards website.