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Chancellor Jan SimekEvery spring, the Chancellor’s Honors Banquet highlights those among us who have made special contributions to the richness of our university community. This wonderful event—now in its 42nd year—celebrates the spirit and deeds that make UT Knoxville so special.

In keeping with our mission as a land-grant institution, we pay special attention to teaching, research and public service. As the state system’s flagship campus, we have a special role in promoting the values and institutions of democracy, serving as an engine of economic and cultural development, and actively welcoming women and men of all races, creeds and cultures as they prepare for a diverse world market.

What I particularly like about this event is that it honors students, faculty, staff, organizations and friends of the university alike. This makes perfect sense when you consider that it is the collective actions of the high performers that allow us to progress toward our goal of becoming a major research institution. These are the folks who are making this happen today and who will guide our university and the state in the future.

Along with the Macebearer, the highest faculty award, and the Torchbearer, the highest student honor, we will bestow nearly 30 awards next week, some of them with multiple winners. They will honor

  • students who maintain high academic standards, take leadership positions on campus and often volunteer actively for worthy causes
  • faculty members who have devised especially stimulating ways to help students learn
  • top collegiate scholars in various disciplines
  • scholars who have made outstanding contributions to their departments and to the reputation of UT
  • those who find innovative ways to advise our students
  • leaders in public service
  • faculty, staff and students who improve the status of women on campus
  • a student who makes proactive contributions in promoting cultural diversity
  • faculty, staff or friends of the university who promote cultural diversity and enhance UT’s educational mission
  • those who show extraordinary professional promise
  • scholar athletes
  • outstanding graduate student teachers
  • faculty, staff, students and organizations providing exemplary service to the community
  • staff members making outstanding contributions to the campus and to customer service

The honors banquet never fails to inspire me. In fact, seeing nearly 500 individuals assembled to reward hard work, intelligence and dedication to UT should inspire all of us as we build an ever brighter future for the university and our state. I look forward to sharing the great news about our winners and stories of their incredible contributions to university life.

Read the April 10 issue of the Daily Beacon for a list of all award winners.