UT President’s Council to host sixth-annual showcase and awards dinner in Martin on Friday

The University of Tennessee President’s Council will hold its sixth annual showcase and awards dinner on Friday, Jan. 31, in Martin. President’s Council members will have the opportunity to tour the UT Martin campus as part of the showcase and awards event.

Members will visit the award-winning UT Martin broadcast studios and hear from communications professors Rodney Freed and Dr. Richard Robinson about their television and radio programs. Members will also watch a demonstration from the UT Martin equestrian team followed by student testimonials about why they chose UT Martin. The showcase will conclude with a trip to downtown Martin, where members will visit Core Ten, a full-service software solutions company that hires UT Martin graduates.

After the day’s activities, members will attend the President’s Council Awards Dinner at 7 p.m. at the Discovery Park of America in Union City. The UT Martin New Pacer Singers, conducted by Dr. Mark Simmons, UT Martin professor of music, will provide the evening’s entertainment, and Miss Tennessee Volunteer Kerri Arnold will serve as the master of ceremonies.

The dinner will honor four UT leaders for their service to the university system.

“I am eternally grateful to these four deserving recipients for their continuing service to this university. Our campuses across the state have become national leaders in a multitude of areas thanks to the generous giving of the recipients’ time, talents and resources. We owe a great deal of our success as a university to these individuals,” said UT System Interim President Randy Boyd.

Jim and Judi Herbert, both UT Knoxville graduates, will be presented with the Jim and Natalie Haslam Presidential Medal. The support of the Herberts has been recognized with the renaming of the Writing Center to the Judith Anderson Herbert Writing Center and the College of Agriculture to the Herbert College of Agriculture. They have served on the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Advisory Board, UT Foundation Board, UTFI Alliance of Women Philanthropists and the UTIA Agriculture Development Board.

Bill Nunnelly, a 1970 UT Martin graduate, and his wife, Rosann, will be honored with the Philanthropist of the Year Award. Their historic $22 million gift is the largest gift ever made to UT Martin and will provide scholarships to students who attend the university, giving preference to students from Hickman County, where Bill was raised on a cattle and feed-grain farm.

Michael Strickland, founder of Bandit Lites, will receive the President’s Council Service Award. Strickland generously gives his time to UT both in the classroom and on the Haslam College of Business Advisory Counsel. Strickland is a 1977 graduate of the UT Knoxville Haslam College of Business.

In addition to these awards, John D. Staley III, a 1993 UT Chattanooga alumnus, will also be inducted into the UT Alumni Association Past President’s Council. Staley led the alumni association as president from 2018 to 2019. He has served on the UTC alumni council and board of directors and is the past president of the UTC Physical Therapy Alumni Association. He has also served on the UT Advisory Council, the Alumni Career Services Task Force, and the UTAA annual giving, communication, marketing, career services, engagement and nominating committees.

About the Awards

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).

Initiated in 2007, the Philanthropist of the Year Award goes to a donor who has made a significant gift to the University of Tennessee and recognizes the profound impact a single gift can make to the university. Previous winners include 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 President’s Council Service Award acknowledges exceptional service in the advancement of the university toward the achievement of excellence. Previous recipients include 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).

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 UT President’s Council 

The UT 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 UT 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.

For more information, contact Jane Hudson, UT System Office of Communications and Marketing, at 865-974-4211 or jhudso34@tennessee.edu.



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