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charles-tombrasCharles Tombras, president and CEO of the Tombras Group advertising agency, will receive the 2013 Donald G. Hileman Alumni Award from UT’s College of Communication and Information at its awards and scholarship donor appreciation banquet November 8.

The banquet is being held in conjunction with the college’s Fall 2013 Board of Visitors meeting.

“Visionary leadership, hard work, honesty, integrity and outstanding entrepreneurial skills have been the hallmarks of Charlie Tombras’ forty-seven-year career,” said CCI Dean Mike Wirth. “As a decorated veteran, award-winning advertising executive, and outstanding community servant, Charlie is a remarkable role model for our students, and we are proud to present him with this award.”

Tombras is a 1964 CCI graduate and Vietnam veteran, earning the Air Medal, Bronze Star, and Bronze Star of Valor during his military career as an Army Airborne Ranger.

Tombras is a recognized national leader in his field. He is a recipient of the American Advertising Federation’s (AAF) Bob McCabe Silver Medal Award for outstanding contributions to the advertising industry and multiple AAF National ADDY Awards, and is a member of the AAF Knoxville chapter’s Hall of Fame.

He also is a graduate of the Leadership Knoxville professional development program and was named the Outstanding Marketing Professional of the Year by the Knoxville chapter of the American Marketing Association.

The Tombras Group is the oldest advertising agency in Tennessee, with offices in Washington DC; Louisville, Kentucky; Charleston, South Carolina; and Knoxville, Nashville, and Kingsport, Tennessee.

The Donald G. Hileman Award is named for the first permanent dean of the College of Communications, the forerunner to the College of Communication and Information. The award was established in 1994 in celebration of the college’s twenty-fifth anniversary. It is awarded to college alumni who have made notable contributions to the field of communication and information.

Past recipients include Alexia Poe, director of communications for Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam; McCormick & Company Inc. chairman, president and CEO Alan Wilson; former Esquire magazine publisher Alan N. Greenberg; and former UT quarterback and four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning.

Other CCI alumni receiving awards at the banquet:

  • Advertising Alumnus of the Year: Kevin Kirksey (’98), senior director, North America brand communication and digital, Nike
  • Communication Studies Alumnus of the Year: Dean Rice (’94), chief of staff, Knox County Mayor
  • Information Sciences Alumna of the Year: Sha Li Zhang (’88), dean of libraries and professor, Mansfield Library, University of Montana
  • Journalism and Electronic Media Alumnus of the Year: Dean Littleton (’92), vice president and general manager, WATE-TV
  • Public Relations Alumna of the Year: Mary Beth West (’94), principal, Mary Beth West Consulting

For more information on the College of Communication and Information, visit the website.


Charles Primm (865-974-5180,