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The University of Tennessee’s College of Nursing honored Forty of its alumni during a celebration of its fortieth anniversary. The Fabulous Forty Nursing Alumni were named at the fourth annual NightinGala on September 21.

The Fabulous Forty—forty outstanding College of Nursing alumni—were nominated and selected because of how they make a difference in the lives of individual patients, organizations, and/or the community.

“The awardees are recognized for their excellence in nursing and health care, leadership in advancing the nursing profession, and innovation in professional nursing,” Dean Victoria Niederhauser said.

The awardees include Cynthia Abraham, Lesley Adkison, G. Rumay Alexander, Matthew Bell, Jewell Birdwell, Donna Boyd, Laura Beth Brown, Victoria Cannington, Patricia Chaloux, Cheryl Daugherty, Rebecca Davidson, Becky Fields, Ben Francisco, Wendy Franklin, Maureen Groer, Derenda Hodge, Elizabeth Jesse, Jo M. Kendrick, Sandy Lassiter, Roberta Lavin, Terri M. Marin, Kim Massey, Bruce McLaughlin, Jan McNally, Jeff Mills, Betty Nash, Deborah Persell, John Preston, Theresa Renfro, Shannon Richmond, Felecia Rivers, Karen Roden, Alice Royce, Mona Shattell, Rita F. Silen, Mary Sowell, Sandra Wade, Lisa Wagoner, Kathleen Walker, and Diane Whaley.

Sharon Tanner, a 1985 Masters of Science in Nursing graduate, received the Dr. Sylvia E. Hart Distinguished Alumni Award.

More than 400 people attended the NightinGala, which featured a presentation by Bill Bass, professor emeritus of anthropology and founder of the Forensic Anthropology Center (also known as the the Body Farm), and was emceed by WBIR-TV anchor Robin Wilhoit.

More than $55,000 was raised to equip and renovate the college’s simulation and learning laboratories.

“These learning centers will allow UT nursing students access to the highest quality educational experiences by simulating real life situations,” said Niederhauser. “They will be able to learn in a ‘safe’ environment prior to entering into high-risk clinical situations.”

The College of Nursing is a nationally recognized leader in the education of highly skilled, visionary nurses. The college enrolls more than 600 students in undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral programs. The master’s program offers concentration areas in global disaster, family practice, administration, pediatrics, mental health, and nurse anesthesia. For more information, visit

C O N T A C T :

Whitney Heins (865-974-5460,