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Jose Aponte

KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Communication and Information (CCI) will hold its annual Experience Diversity Banquet, 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25, at the Bearden Banquet Hall, 5806 Kingston Pike, in Knoxville.

The keynote speaker is Jose Aponte, director of the San Diego County Library in San Diego, Calif. Aponte also will be presented with the 2011 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), said the banquet is DSLS’s major fundraiser for the year.

“We are working to make the banquet an inspirational diversity experience for students and other attendees, as well as to raise funds to support the college’s diversity and inclusion program,” Wirth said.

“Our goal is to provide an open and accepting community for CCI students, to provide underrepresented students with support, mentoring and programs to help them stay in college, and to help students be more marketable in the global workforce,” Wirth said.

The San Diego County library system that Aponte manages has a geographically and culturally diverse population, with more than 33 libraries, two bookmobiles and a literacy program. Aponte also serves on the advisory board of the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries and is a competitive runner who has run more than 20 marathons.

“Jose Aponte is known around the world for his ability to inspire, transform and innovate in the areas of library and information science,” Wirth said. “He is equally well-known for his dedication to ensuring that libraries serve all of their diverse constituencies in spite of budgetary challenges.”

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 865-974-4454 or

C O N T A C T :

Alice R. Bowling Wirth (303-748-9452,