Skip to main content

The College of Communication and Information will host Social Media Week April 2-4 in the Communications Building on campus.

The three-day event will feature presentations, panel discussions, and open forums with social media experts from Nike, Dunkin’ Donuts, and McCormick & Company, as well as advertising, marketing, and public relations agencies from Knoxville and the Southeast. Sponsors for the event include Coca-Cola, WBIR-TV, Calhoun’s, and Latitude 35.

Kevin Kirksey, senior director of North American brand communications and digital for Nike Inc. and a 1998 UT advertising graduate, will give a keynote address titled “Storytelling and Social Media.”

“A great story will engage, inspire, and ultimately move the masses,” Kirksey said. “An innovative social plan is no longer a chapter in that story, it’s a thread that holds the narrative together.”

Kirksey, a native of Bristol, Tennessee, began his career in account management at the New York offices of Young & Rubicam and Ogilvy & Mather. His accounts included KFC, Sony, United Airlines, and new businesses. He then drove brand awareness at ESPN, focusing on programming including SportsCenter, the X Games, and 30 for 30.

Kevin Kirksey

Kirksey now leads North American advertising efforts for Nike’s running, basketball, football, soccer, sportswear, women’s training, athletic training, and action categories.

Additional speakers include:

  • Laura Bower, senior vice president and director of public relations and social media for The Tombras Group, who earned an MBA in finance from UT in 1992.
  • Andrew Foust, digital business development manager for McCormick & Company Inc., and a 2004 UT advertising graduate.
  • Margo Hughes, field marketing manager for Dunkin’ Donuts and a 2008 UT advertising graduate.
  • Curtis Rose, senior vice president and director of technology strategy and innovation for Erwin Penland and a 2003 UT advertising graduate.

The conference also will feature UT’s own campus communicators, with professionals from Athletics, Alumni Affairs, and the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture sharing their expertise in utilizing social media to share the university’s stories.

Communication and Information Dean Mike Wirth said UT Social Media Week, now in its second year, has an outstanding lineup of speakers.

“As social media have an ever greater impact on how we communicate, market, and interrelate, the opportunity to listen to and interact with top US social media experts will provide the attendees with a truly remarkable learning opportunity,” Wirth said. “This event is just one example of how our college is developing an innovative curriculum to address the ever-changing environment within which our graduates will be working.”

The three-day event is scheduled as a lead-in to the Social Slam social media conference, set for Friday, April 5, at the Knoxville Convention Center. Social Slam features nationally acclaimed speakers and experts in all aspects of social media. For more information, visit the Social Slam website. 

For more information on UT Social Media Week, including the full schedule of events and speakers, visit the College of Communication and Information website.

C O N T A C T :

Courtney Childers (865-974-5108,

Charles Primm (865-974-5180,