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"Mountains Beyond Mountains" author Tracy Kidder with grand prize winner Jan Urbano and Drew Webb from the Provost's Office.

KNOXVILLE — Jan Urbano’s colored pencil drawing depicting vivid scenes from this year’s Life of the Mind book, “Mountains Beyond Mountains,” was the grand prize winner in the program’s creative response contest.

Now in its seventh year, the Life of the Mind program encourages all first-year students to read a common book during the summer, submit a creative response and then participate in discussion groups led by faculty and staff during their first week on campus. “Mountains Beyond Mountains” is a biography of Dr. Paul Farmer, and it features themes that include Haiti, health, poverty, science and religion.

“We were amazed at some of the thoughtful creative responses students submitted after reading the book,” said Sally McMillan, vice provost for academic operations. “Students sent us essays, poems, artwork, original songs, multimedia presentations – all sorts of projects. You could tell that ‘Mountains Beyond Mountains’ really made them think and, for many of them, sparked a desire to find something they can do to make the world a better place.”

To view the Top 25 creative response projects, visit http://torch.utk.edu/lifeofthemind/projects/.

Urbano received an iPad for his winning creative response, which received more than 300 votes on the Life of the Mind website.

The first runners-up, who each received an iPod Touch were Marianela D’Aprile for her watercolor book and essay; Kyle West for his original song; Elise Heuberger for her essay; and Amanda Mitchell for her photo collage video.

The second runners-up in the creative response contest, who each received a $50 UT Bookstore gift certificate, were Austen Ashworth for her poem; Matthew Reecer for his P-O-V-E-R-T-Y multimedia presentation; Kyoungho Cho for his graphic design; Jaclyn Earle for her pen and ink drawing; and Kelsey Walton for her poetic composition.

Last week, “Mountains Beyond Mountains” author Tracy Kidder visited campus to give a lecture, meet with freshmen and sign copies of his book. At Thursday night’s lecture, he talked about what it was like to get to know Farrmer, who founded Partners in Health and has worked extensively to improve health conditions in some impoverished areas of Haiti, Peru and Russia.

On Friday, Farmer had breakfast with some of the creative response winners and then met with a class of honors students and a group of communications students.

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034, amy.blakely@tennessee.edu)