Prized Possessions

Three University of Tennessee Alumni Promise winners share their most prized possessions from their time at UT.

Matt Bell (’10)


AP-stethescope“I used it all through my graduate training at UT. It was originally issued to me before deploying to Afghanistan with the US Army in 2005. I’ve used it thousands of times to listen to the hearts, lungs, and bellies of the many patients I’ve had the honor of treating—from the chaos of military mass casualties to the quietest of exam rooms. This stethoscope means a great deal to me as it is a reminder of the body of work that has gotten me to where I am professionally.”

Bell received a master’s degree in nursing and currently practices as a nurse anesthetist at Park West Medical Center in Knoxville. He served in the US Army for seven years after graduating from the University of Nevada. He deployed to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, in 2005, working as a trauma and flight nurse. He was awarded a Bronze Star.

Tamika Catchings (’00, ’05)
Retired jersey

jersey“My Tennessee Lady Vols jersey, after being retired, is framed and on my trophy case. I have kept it because it was a very important time in my playing career, and it’s awesome to look up and see it and reminisce on my time there.”

Catchings is currently in her thirteenth season in the Women’s National Basketball Association. She led her team, the Indiana Fever, to the 2012 WNBA championship. Catchings is a three-time Olympic gold medalist. She was named by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to serve on the US Department of State’s Council to Empower Women and Girls through Sport—a program run by UT’s Center for Sport, Peace, and Society.

Kevin Burdette (’97)
UT coin purse


“I got my first UT coin purse, and, indeed, every UT change purse I have ever owned, from my father, Edwin Burdette, who is a professor of civil engineering at UT and who has used his own coin purse since before I was born. Initially, I embraced the practicality of the coin purse, while being slightly shy about being the only person among my peers who owned, let alone used, a coin purse. Now, though, I use the coin purse with pride, as it symbolizes a connection to my family and to my alma mater.”

As an opera singer, Burdette has already impressed audiences on both sides of the Atlantic with his mellifluous voice and strongly dramatic characterizations. He performs at venues like Metropolitan Opera, the Seattle Symphony, the Portland Opera, Opera Memphis, and Opera Grand Rapids. He received a College Scholars degree and a music degree from UT, a master’s from Juilliard, and a law degree from Columbia Law School.

Find out more about Bell, Catchings, Burdette, and other honored alumni at the Alumni Awards website.

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