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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Communication and Information (CCI) will hold its annual Experience Diversity Banquet, 7 p.m. Friday, April 9, at the Bearden Banquet Hall, 5806 Kingston Pike, in Knoxville.

The keynote speaker is Phyllis Y. Nichols, president and CEO of the Knoxville Area Urban League. Nichols also will be presented with the 2010 College of Communication and Information Diversity Award.

Alice R. Bowling Wirth, a lecturer in the college’s School of Communication Studies and director of the college’s Diversity Student Leaders Society (DSLS), says the banquet is DSLS’s major fundraiser for the year.

“Our main objectives are to open doors for students by giving them the opportunity to network with professionals and explore career options, and to provide a variety of support programs to help diverse students stay in college,” Wirth said. The society is also raising funds to begin a scholarship program to encourage students to attend graduate school.

Nichols has been involved in the Knoxville Area Urban League since 1994, and has led the organization since 2000. She serves on numerous local boards including Child and Family Tennessee, Leadership Knoxville and the Knoxville Chamber.

“Phyllis Nichols has fought the good fight for civility and human rights,” Wirth said. “She has made a significant difference in Knoxville by opening doors for so many, helping them get back their dignity and improving their lives. She’s been a trailblazer and we’re thrilled to have her as our keynote speaker and to present her with the 2010 CCI Diversity Award.”

The banquet will provide an inspirational diversity experience for all attendees. In addition to the keynote speech, the program will include creative diversity presentations, music and dancing. Tickets to the banquet are $30 each and tables of 10 are available for $300. To order tickets, contact Sherry McNair at (865) 974-1540 or smcnair@utk.edu.

C O N T A C T :

Alice R. Bowling Wirth (303-748-9452, awirth@utk.edu)