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KINGSPORT, Tenn. — University of Tennessee officials Tuesday recognized Eastman Chemical Co. Tuesday for cooperative education internships the company provides to UT-Knoxville students.

Eastman received the first Employer Excellence in Co-op Engineering award from UT-Knoxville during a ceremony at the Eastman Administration Building.

UT-Knoxville Chancellor Bill Snyder said Eastman’s commitment to co-op education gives students a competitive edge in the job market.

“At a time when employment opportunities are growing increasingly competitive, cooperative education is a most valuable service,” Snyder said.

“Thanks to Eastman’s support of teamwork between education and business, we have been able to enrich the educational experience of students and utilize co-op education to its fullest extent.”

Ellen Payton, Eastman Senior Employment Representative, said UT and the company have teamed up for cooperative education projects since before World War II.

“On behalf of the collective effort of many co-op managers and supervisors at Eastman, we are pleased to be partners with the University of Tennessee and to be recognized for the work we’ve been doing together,” Payton said.

Dr. Jerry Stoneking, UT-Knoxville engineering dean, said the co-op program gives students hands-on work experience, financial support and a head start in their careers. It helps students develop interpersonal skills and evaluate career opportunities and directions, he said.

“Eastman has long been a leader in promoting and supporting cooperative education for UT engineering students and we are extremely grateful for their support,” Stoneking said. “I am delighted to present this award to Eastman Chemical.”

Walter Odom, director of engineering co-op programs at UT-Knoxville, praised Eastman’s support of student engineers from all types of different backgrounds.

“Every one of our students who has done an internship with Eastman has said it was an exceptional training period and a wonderful experience,” Odom said.

Contact: Dr. Bill Snyder (423-974-3288)