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KNOXVILLE – University of Tennessee Knoxville faculty, students and staff were recognized for their service and accomplishments at the Chancellor’s Honors Banquet held Monday at the Carolyn P. Brown Memorial University Center.

Hosted by Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek, the annual event honors members of the campus community. Among the top awards presented were:

Macebearer: Bruce Ralston is associate department head of geography and has been with the university since 1976 in numerous administrative roles. The Macebearer — the top faculty honor — leads the faculty in processionals during commencement exercises for a full academic year. Ralston’s research specialties include GIS systems, geospatial analyses and transportation geography. Ralston currently is building a suite of mapping tools for use with the 2010 Census and recently began developing tools for free mapping services, such as Google Earth. For the past 25 years, Ralston has helped students learn the most state-of-the-art technologies and techniques, often attending seminars that he funds personally, as well as working closely with industry to prepare students for employment in the field.

Alexander Prize: Professor Daniel Roberts is responsible for teaching Biochemistry and Molecular Biology I, a required course for all biology majors. His consistently positive student evaluations, innovative teaching tools and impressive research record have distinguished him as a caring, yet challenging teacher. Named for former UT president and now Sen. Lamar Alexander and his wife, Honey, the award recognizes superior teaching and distinguished scholarship.

Jefferson Prize: Lynn Sacco, assistant professor of history, specializes in 19th- and 20th- century gender history. Her book, “Unspeakable: Father-Daughter Incest in American History,” combines the medical, legal and social history of a crime whose taboo status for the most part kept it out of the historical record. Made possible by an anonymous donor, the Jefferson Prize honors the principles of Thomas Jefferson and his pursuit of freedom and knowledge.

L.R. Hesler Award: Peter Liaw, professor of materials science and engineering and the college’s Ivan Racheff Chair of Excellence, joined the faculty in 1993. His pursuit of research funding has resulted in more than $20 million in education and research funds for the university, including a multi-million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation to create the International Materials Institute. The award is named for the longtime department head and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

The Torchbearer award is the highest honor given to a student. Cheek presented the 2010 Torchbearers with medals, and they each passed the ceremonial torch at the event. The honorees are:

John DiChiara, a political science major from Pinson, Tenn., is in his fourth year as a resident assistant. He served as an orientation leader and as a counselor for the Center for Courageous Kids Medical Camp in Kentucky, where he facilitated programming for 50 campers with varying medical needs. He been accepted into the Teach for America Program and will be working in Chicago for two years after graduation.

Amanda Fortner is a speech pathology student from Lobelville, Tenn. Her community service includes working with families at the Ronald McDonald House and assisting the elderly in her hometown. On campus, Fortner holds leadership positions in SGA, Mortar Board, her sorority and as an orientation leader.

Ashley Hughes, a psychology major from Knoxville, serves as president of the United Residence Halls Council and as the housing liaison for Student Government Association. In addition to her roles within student housing, Hughes has served as an orientation leader, a member of the Dance Marathon morale committee, and was chosen as an Emerging Leader, a selective interdisciplinary leadership program offered to only 25 students each year.

Samuel Mortimer, a fifth-year architecture student from Chattanooga, is an advocate for issues of environmental and social concern. As SGA senator for the College of Architecture and Design, Mortimer led a drive to change the HOPE Scholarship, successfully lobbying the legislature for the scholarship to cover the final year of studies in five-year programs. Recently, he served as lead designer on a UT team participating in the Environmental Protection Agency’s P3 Competition, earning a top honor nationally for the sustainable design project.

Jamil Price is a journalism and electronic media major from Lebanon, Tenn. He serves as press secretary for SGA, student representative on the Student Affairs Council, chair of the Student Alumni Associates, and as an Ambassador Scholar and orientation leader. He also serves on the Dean’s Undergraduate Student Advisory Council for the College of Communication and Information.

Todd Skelton, a College Scholars student from Surgoinsville, Tenn., has served as president of the Honor’s Council for two years. Skelton founded and chairs the Honors Ambassador Program and Host-a-Student program and currently serves as the founding editor-in-chief of “Pursuit,” the university’s undergraduate research journal.

Jeff Wilcox, from Fayetteville, Tenn. graduated from the university’s enterprise management program in the fall. During his time at the university, Wilcox served as president of the Student Government Association and on nearly 20 university committees, as well as being heavily involved in Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity.

The full list of all faculty, staff and student awards is available online.

C O N T A C T :

Beth Gladden (865-974-9008, bgladden@utk.edu)