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Rita GeierCivil rights leader and UT administrator Rita Geier was honored Feb. 28 with a lifetime achievement award during the second annual African American Image Awards.

The awards, hosted by Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., the Student African American Brotherhood and several other minority student organizations across campus, celebrate excellence displayed by black students and faculty throughout the past year.

Other honorees included senior Brittany Lacy, who received the Collegiate Achievement award; Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Jane Redmond, who won an outstanding faculty-staff award; and Jocelyn Milton, associate director of Minority Student Affairs, who also received an outstanding faculty-staff award.

Geier sued the state of Tennessee in 1968 to desegregate its higher education system. The suit resulted in the 2001 Geier Consent Decree, which provided $77 million in state funds to diversify student and faculty populations of all state higher education institutions.

Geier began working at UT in September 2007. She is an associate to the UTK Chancellor, helps implement goals of the university’s diversity plan and Ready for the World intercultural initiative, and serves as a senior fellow at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy.