President Barack Obama has announced the appointment of UT alumnus Michael Nettles to the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. Nettles graduated in 1976 with a degree in political science.
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.
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.”
UT supporters will have the chance to play golf with some well-known names while raising money for scholarships benefiting African-American students. The eleventh annual Alex Haley Scholarship Benefit Auction and Celebrity Golf Tournament takes place Sunday and Monday, May 4 and 5. A reception and auction will take place on Sunday at the Marriott Hotel ballroom in downtown Knoxville. Former UT lettermen will team up with golfers at Monday’s golf tournament at Gettysvue Polo, Golf, and Country Club, and the winning team will represent UT at the Acura College Alumni Team Championship at Pinehurst.
Alumna Janet McKinley has established an endowment to promote an interest in golf among female Master of Business Administration students. The Janet McKinley MBA Golf Endowment will be based in the College of Business Administration. Earnings from the endowment will fund the new Grads to Golf program.
The Knoxville News Sentinel featured a story on UT College of Engineering graduate Karl Hughes and Packback Books, a startup company he helped launch that was featured on the TV show ‘Shark Tank.’
A UT alumna has been honored for her outstanding performance on the CPA exam. Margaret Sharp, of Knoxville, has received the prestigious 2013 American Institute of CPAs Elijah Watt Sells Award. Only fifty-five individuals out of 94,154 test takers, or .05 percent, received this distinction.
The College of Communication and Information will name a classroom in honor of CCI alumna Hilda Murray, an accomplished entrepreneur and business executive. A brief ceremony, part of the CCI Board of Visitors spring meeting, will take place from noon to 12:30 p.m. on Friday, March 7, in Room 309 of the Communications Building. A plaque honoring Murray, which will hang outside the classroom, will be unveiled at the ceremony.
While a student at UT, Paige Braddock cut her teeth as a cartoonist for the Daily Beacon newspaper. The budding illustrator went on to work at several major newspapers before being hired by the creator of the Peanuts brand. Braddock, now executive vice president and creative director of the Charles Schultz Studio, returned to UT Thursday and was honored with the Accomplished Alumni award. She is a 1985 School of Art graduate.
UT alumnus Ray Austin is starring in a reality series on Bravo. Austin, a 1997 psychology graduate and former defensive back for the Volunteers, is part of the cast for the cable network’s 100 Days of Summer, which chronicles six young, successful, and ambitious Chicagoans as they navigate the ups and downs of their personal, professional, and social lives over one intense summer season. The show airs at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on Tuesdays.