“Lorna’s family, especially her husband Jim, will be in need of our thoughts and prayers over the coming days,” Chancellor of Agriculture Larry Arrington said in a note to institute faculty and staff. “Lorna was a valued co-worker and friend to all she touched in UTIA. She will be greatly missed.”
Lorna oversaw communications for the institute since December 2007.
In addition to her time spent with the Ag Institute, she had a 24-year career at UT Medical Center. She earned her bachelor’s degree while working at the hospital as an administrative assistant. She later joined the communications/marketing department and served in several roles before becoming its director. She left in 2003 and worked for Leadership Knoxville and the Knox County Mayor’s office before joining the UT Institute of Agriculture.
Her love for UT began while she was a student at Fulton High School. She worked at UT in a part-time job in the Alumni Affairs office.
Her sister, Tammie Cole, currently serves in the UT treasurer’s office, sister Jo Ann Sims is retired from the UT Extension dean’s office, sister Betty Lou Plymale is also a UT retiree, and sister Judy Snow worked in the College of Agricultural and Natural Sciences dean’s office before retiring from a research position in the Construction Research Analysis Center. Her cousin, Dan Trentham, currently serves in UT Human Resources.
Lorna was honored last spring for her more than 25 years of service at UT’s employee service awards. She shared her thoughts about the opportunities the university provided to her for a website feature.
“I earned my degree while working full-time at UT, and I owe nearly everything I am and everything that I have to UT,” she said in an interview.
“I love the people of the Institute of Agriculture,” she added. “They are the best people in the UT system.”
Lorna also made significant contributions to several nonprofit and professional organizations. She is past president of the Volunteer chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.
A celebration of her life will be held from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 8, at Smithview Pavilion and Event Center, located at 601 Smithview Drive, Maryville. The family asks that in lieu of gifts, donations be made to the College of Veterinary Medicine or the Young-Williams Animal Center. For more information and the complete obituary, visit the Smith Mortuary website or call 865-983-1000.