Shelby Guffey, of Coopertown, and Trisdan Ragland, of Martin, were each presented with Paul and Martha Meek Leadership Awards during the University of Tennessee at Martin’s fall commencement ceremony Dec. 14. These awards showcase outstanding community and campus service by graduating students and are the only awards given during commencement each semester.
Guffey served as a student ambassador for the UT Martin Office of Undergraduate Admissions for two years and as a Peer-Enabling Program Leader for two years. The UT Martin Peer-Enabling Program matches upperclassmen with groups of entering freshman students to provide mentorship opportunities and improve the overall freshman experience. Guffey also served as leader of service initiatives within the program during her senior year. She was an active member of Alpha Delta Pi and served as public relations chair and director of social enrichment for the UT Martin chapter.
“Shelby is an outstanding student who represents not only herself but the university in the highest way possible. She is involved in all facets of campus life and is a very worthy recipient of this award. She is graduating with two degrees (and) as an honor student and still finds the time to be an active student,” wrote Rachel Stephens, assistant director of student life, in Guffey’s nomination materials.
Ragland served as both president and chapter parliamentarian during his time as a member of the UT Martin chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. He also won the university’s 2017 Emerging Leader Award and the 2018 University Service Award from the Office of Student Life and Multicultural Affairs. He was active in the planning and execution of UT Martin events surrounding Black History Month and mental health initiatives and volunteered with the Stuart Center and Teen Center and RIFA Soup Kitchen each year.
“Trisdan is a leader who is much more interested in setting the example than running the show loudly. He is an observant, thoughtful young man who has a massive influence on his peers and even the staff that work with him. … Trisdan proves you can lead quietly from the back of the room through gentle encouragement and willingness to work alongside the others on the team,” wrote Rachel Stephens and Anthony Prewitt, assistant directors in the Office of Student Life and Multicultural Affairs, in Ragland’s nomination materials.
Dr. Paul Meek served the UT Martin campus as executive officer, dean, UT vice president or chancellor from 1934 to 1967. This award was originally established and funded by the three Meek children to honor their parents.
For more information, contact the UT Martin Office of University Relations at 731-881-7615.