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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee received three awards at the National Association of Student Affairs Professionals annual conference this month.

Terrell Strayhorn
Terrell Strayhorn
Terrell Strayhorn, special assistant to the provost and assistant professor in educational psychology and counseling, and a group of UT students attended the conference Feb. 21 in Atlanta.

UT was awarded the 2008 Outstanding Graduate College Student Personnel and Higher Education Program Award, marking the first time the NASAP has given this award to a predominantly white institution. The award recognized UT for its efforts to admit a significant number of black graduate students who have graduated and moved on to administrative positions at distinguished institutions.

“I was thrilled because this is a great honor and it reflects our commitment to diversity within the programs, department, college and university,” Strayhorn said. “My colleagues Dr. Norma Mertz and Dr. Grady Bogue and I have worked diligently to enhance the nature of our programs to accommodate students’ needs, varying interests and an array of professionals goals. These awards demonstrate that you can pursue diversity while maintaining excellence.”

James “DJ” Baker III, a doctoral student in higher education, received the 2008 Outstanding Graduate Student Award. He was chosen by a selection committee chaired by Rose Wilson-Hill, director of administration and special programs at Ohio State University. Baker was nominated by Strayhorn, his major professor.

Strayhorn, along with several graduate students, also took home the 2008 Outstanding General Session Award. They presented a session highlighting findings from the African American Incentive Grant and African American Achievers research they conducted in 2007.

NASAP is a professional organization dedicated to encouraging excellence in student affairs. It addresses issues and needs of college students while promoting professional development. NASAP was founded in 1954 at Howard University as an offshoot of parent organizations the National Association of Deans of Women and Advisor of Girls in Colored Schools and the National Association of Personnel Dean of Men at Negro Education Institutions.


Karen Collins, UT media relations, (865) 974-2225,

Terrell Strayhorn, (865) 974-6457,