UT Alumni Board of Directors Honors Outstanding Alumni

KNOXVILLE —The alumni board of directors at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, honored some of its most outstanding members in a gala held Friday, September 9, at the Marriott in downtown Knoxville. Four people were honored as distinguished alumni for their years of service and great personal and professional success.

Mintha Roach, president and CEO of the Knoxville Utilities Board, serves as president of the board and emceed the event. Roach is a 1974 graduate of the College of Business Administration.

The Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award recognizes those alumni who have attained extraordinary distinction and success in their chosen fields of endeavor. Through their accomplishments, they have brought credit and acclaim to UT Knoxville and have benefited society at large.

The winners of the Distinguished Alumna/Alumnus Award were:

John Compton serves as CEO of PepsiCo North American Foods. Shortly after his UT graduation, Compton began working third shift in a local plant making cookies for Frito Lay, a division of PepsiCo. Through his twenty-seven-year career, he has held senior-level positions with Frito Lay North America and Quaker Tropicana Gatorade. He is an active volunteer for the College of Business Administration as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council and an executive-in-residence lecturer.

Joe Cook is a graduate of UT’s College of Engineering and held many senior-level positions within Eli Lilly and Company before retiring as vice president for global operations. He then embarked on a career as a strategy consultant for the biotechnology industry and later as a chairman and CEO of Amylin Pharmaceuticals and directed the San Diego-based company through the development of two new diabetes management drugs. In 2002, he co-founded a private equity firm focused on Southeast-based companies and competing for TN Investco grants, a state program with a pool of venture capital funds to develop Tennessee’s entrepreneurial structure and bring additional capital to the state.

Dave Ramsey is an internationally recognized radio host, author, and motivational speaker on personal finance. His program, Financial Peace University, is taught across the country and his radio program is broadcast on more than 450 stations in the United States and Canada. His work has been featured on Oprah and 60 Minutes and he is a frequent contributor on national news programs. His “Share It” foundation works with other nonprofit organizations to fund housing initiatives, domestic violence shelters, and drug and alcohol recovery centers, among other causes.

A posthumous Distinguished Alumnus Award was given to John Fisher, who retired as chairman of the Ball Corporation in 1986. The company, which specializes in canning products, grew from profits of $7 million when he was hired in 1941 to more than $1 billion at the time he retired. Fisher was UT’s first “Volunteer of the Year,” an award he received as a junior in 1937 and is the basis for today’s Torchbearer award, the highest a UT student can receive. Fisher was an active philanthropist for UT and organizations in his hometown of Muncie, Indiana. Fisher’s son, Jim accepted the award.

The Alumni Professional Achievement Award recognizes individuals who have achieved impressive heights in their careers. The winners were:

• Karen Brown Dunlap, president, Poynter Institute for Media Studies

• Ralph Heath, president, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics

• Sharon Lee, justice, Tennessee State Supreme Court

• Diana Whaley, recipient of the 2009 Florence Nightingale award, the nursing profession’s highest honor

The Alumni Service Award recognizes exceptional long-term, continuing service and leadership to UT. The winners of the Alumni Service Award were:

• Charles F. Brakebill, retired UT vice president for development and alumni affairs

• David Martin, retired UT treasurer and founder of Martin & Co., an investment firm now owned by First Tennessee National Corporation.

• Betty Myers, alumna photographer for UT’s Pride of the Southland band

• King Rogers, attorney with Glankler Brown PLLC in Memphis, Tennessee

• Al Separk, attorney, Law Offices of W. Allen Separk in Atlanta

The Alumni Promise Award recognizes alumni 40 years old or younger who have demonstrated distinctive achievement in their careers, civic involvement, or both. The winners of the Alumni Promise Award were:

• David Clark, vice president for North American operations, Amazon.com

• David Merryman, associate professor of biomedical engineering, Vanderbilt University

• Amy Millslagle, marketing director for Olympic operations, Dow Chemical Company

• Sammy Zahran, co-director of the Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis and faculty member at Colorado State University

The alumni board of directors provides advice and counsel to the university administration and guidance for alumni initiatives.

C O N T A C T :

Beth Gladden (865-974-9008, bgladden@utk.edu)

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