Arts & Sciences News

Clarence Brown Theatre Honored for Production of Whipping Man

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The East Tennessee Historical Society has recognized UT’s Clarence Brown Theatre for its production of The Whipping Man, a haunting Civil War-era play that tackles difficult issues and the region’s history. The theater received the Award of Distinction this month from the historical society for its adaptation of the play.

Check Out the Media Coverage of Spring Commencement

Graduation cap

More than 3,800 students graduated from the university last week. Many of our graduates, speakers, honorees, and programs captured widespread media attention. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Noble Wilford spoke to graduates from the College of Communication and Information, former NPR anchor Ann Taylor spoke to graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences, and financial guru Dave Ramsey spoke to graduates from the College of Business Administration. Read on for an overview of last week’s news.

Five Students Win NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

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Five graduate students have received National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. The recipients are Caroline Bryson, Mallory Ladd, Derek Mull, Alix Ann Pfennigwerth, and Su’ad Amatullah Yoon. The Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and provides financial support for outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions.

Former NPR Newscaster Ann Taylor Tells Grads ‘Be Smart but Take a Chance’

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Longtime NPR newscaster Ann Taylor urged graduates to “be smart, but also take a chance” in her commencement address at UT on Friday. Taylor, who graduated from UT with a degree in English in 1958, anchored NPR’s national newscasts within All Things Considered from 1989 until July of 2011. Taylor spoke at the College of Arts and Sciences commencement and offered graduates a laundry list of advice, which she called “Ann Taylor-isms.”

Systers Act: Koessler’s Impact Felt Well Beyond the Classroom

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When Denise Koessler receives her doctorate in computer science, it will mark the end of the long road—one that wasn’t always easily traveled. “There were times along the way where I didn’t have a peer in my classes,” said Koessler. “I was on the verge of leaving engineering. There just weren’t many other women.”

Graduating Senior Doesn’t Allow Vision Impairment to Thwart Theater Dreams

Christian Darnell, center, in a scene from A Christmas Carol.

Batman may be a superhero crime-fighter, but inside he’s Bruce Wayne—a regular guy who has seen trial and triumph. Born with a vision impairment, Christian Darnell, who graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences on Friday with a degree in theater, identifies with that inner strength. Darnell was born with oculocutaneous albinism, a condition that affects pigmentation of the skin, hair, and eyes and classifies him as being legally blind.

Art Students Convert Metal Scraps from Gerdau into Sculptures

Work by Battle Glascock

Six UT students have converted more than 3,000 pounds of scrap metal provided by steel recycler Gerdau into works of art. The sculptures were unveiled this week and are on display at the historic Ivan Racheff House in Northwest Knoxville. The exhibition, which celebrates National Recycling Month, is a partnership between Gerdau and Dogwood Arts.

Student at Bredesen Center Wins $50,000 ORNL Prize

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With the first set of UT Bredesen Center graduates set to receive their doctorates next week, students who will be in the next wave of graduates are already finding success. Andrew Lepore, working out of the Materials Science and Technology Division through the center, recently won a prestigious ORNL-related prize at the Next Big Idea competition. Lepore is on track to receive his doctorate in 2016.

Graduating Senior Receives 2014 Claxton Medallion

From left: Susan Benner, associate dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences; Brooke Terry, graduating senior and 2014 Claxton Medal winner; and Theresa Lee, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Senior Brooke Elana Terry has received the 2014 Claxton Medallion. The $5,000 award is given annually to a graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences who will be entering a fifth-year internship in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences to prepare for a career in teaching.