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Faye Julian’s career at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has included some notable “firsts.”

In 1977, she received the first doctorate awarded by the College of Communications.

And, in 2002, when the College of Communications and the School of Information Sciences were merged, Julian became interim dean — and later full dean — to oversee the transition.

Julian, who retired in 2005, will be honored with the 2009 College of Communication and Information’s Hileman Distinguished Alumni Award on May 7 at the college’s spring commencement.

Recent winners include two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and noted science writer for The New York Times, John Noble Wilford, and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.

During the past 50 years, Julian has been in many roles at UT. Before she was an administrator, she was a student and a teacher.

Julian and her husband, W.J. Julian, moved to Knoxville when he was hired by UT to be the band director.

Faye Julian completed her master’s degree in speech and theater at UT in 1962 and was hired to teach English and speech courses and coach the debate team.

In the 1970s and ’80s, she also taught theater courses and was director of UT’s Children’s Theater. During those years, she wrote, adapted and directed numerous children’s plays for UT Theaters.

Receiving the first doctorate awarded by the College of Communications in 1977, is “the thing of which I’m most proud,” she said. “And it was under then-Dean Donald G. Hileman, for whom this (alumni award) is named.”

Julian continued teaching and working as an administrator in the College of Arts and Sciences — including serving as head of the Department of Speech Communication — until 1995. That year, she became associate dean for undergraduate academic affairs, and in 1996, she was named dean for undergraduate academic affairs and director of the Center for Undergraduate Excellence in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

In 2002, when named interim dean for the new college, she oversaw the merger of separate units into four “schools.” The School of Advertising and Public Relations was formed from the former Department of Advertising and the public relations concentration from the School of Journalism. The Department of Broadcasting and the remaining portion of the School of Journalism became the School of Journalism and Electronic Media. The Department of Speech Communication became the School of Communication Studies, and the School of Information Sciences maintained its name and became the fourth school.

While at UT, Julian was a member of the Board of Trustees Student Affairs Committee, chaired UT’s Undergraduate Council for five years, served two terms on the UT Faculty Senate, three years on the University Tenure/Promotion Committee, two terms on the Teaching Council and was a member of the Commission for Women for three terms. She also was a member of the steering committee for UT’s 1994 21st Century Campaign as well as the current capital campaign for UT.

Julian was selected as a UT Woman of Achievement for Outstanding Accomplishments in 1980. She received a Chancellor’s Citation for Extraordinary Public Service in 1997, and in 2004, she was chosen as the Commission for Women’s Notable UT Woman of Distinction in recognition of outstanding accomplishments as an administrator.

Since retirement, Julian has been elected to the corporate board for the InterFaith Health Clinic where she also writes a physicians’ newsletter. She has just completed a three-year term on the Bishop’s Council for the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee, and for the past three years, she has conducted a youth poetry contest for Knoxville’s public and private schools sponsored by Ossoli Circle, a member of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs.

She and her husband have two children and two grandchildren.