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Jose AponteThe College of Communication and Information will celebrate its Diversity and Inclusion Week September 22–25 with a keynote speech, an open forum, panels, and a diversity festival.

Jose Aponte, director of the San Diego County Library System, will deliver the keynote address at 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, September 24, in McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture auditorium. The event will be streamed live.

Aponte’s mother was a librarian, and his first job, at the age of eight, was reading books to youngsters at the library after school at a rate of a nickel per story.

After graduating from Bard College in New York, Aponte wrote, directed and performed off Broadway for two years. He then accepted a scholarship to the Graduate Library Institute for Spanish Speaking Americans at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He began working as a professional librarian with the Tucson Public Library while still in school and skipped his formal graduation ceremony because he was at the library’s reference desk. He has worked in city administration and in libraries in Santa Barbara, San Juan Capistrano, and Oceanside, California; West Palm Beach, Florida; and El Paso County, Colorado. Aponte became director of the County of San Diego Library in 2005. The library was named Library of the Year in 2012 by the Library Journal.

Aponte has served on the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries Advisory Council and the National Commission on Libraries and Information Sciences.

He received the REFORMA 2004 Trejo Librarian of the Year Award from the American Libraries Association for his “outstanding library work, locally and nationwide … and the promotion of Latino culture.”

Last year, Aponte was recognized by his alma mater, Bard College, with the John Dewey Award for Distinguished Public Service. The UT College of Communication and Information presented Aponte with its Diversity Award in 2011.

An endurance sport enthusiast, Aponte was a member of the United States Triathlon Association’s Duathlon Team in 2002. He was World Duathlon Champion in Weyer, Austria, as well as the National Duathlon Champion in Nashville.

Each day of Diversity and Inclusion Week will focus on a different aspect of diversity. Here’s a look at the full schedule:

Monday, September 22: Personal Issues

10:10–11:10 a.m.—Diversity: Visible vs. Invisible, Patrick Auditorium (Communications Building, Room 321). Moderated by Alice Bowling Wirth, chair of CCI Diversity and Inclusion Week, and student Kristen England, the panel will include students Malak Al Duraidi and Tucker Hyde; Annazette Houston, director of the Office of Disability Services; and Alan Muir, executive director of Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities.

2:30–3:30 p.m.—Diversity and Religion, Patrick Auditorium. Moderated by Mike Wirth, dean of the college, the panel includes Chris Buice, senior minister at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church; Jeremy McGinnis, assistant pastor at Park West Church; Nadeem Siddiqi, member of the Muslim community of Knoxville’s Dawah; and Marilyn Wohl, member of Temple Beth El.

Tuesday, September 23: Social Issues

11:10 a.m.–12:25 p.m.—Sports and Stereotypes, Patrick Auditorium. Moderated by Assistant Professor Erin Whiteside, the panel will include Cierra Burdick, Lady Vols basketball player; Jimmy Hyams, sports director, Cumulus Broadcasting; Phil Kaplan, sports editor, Knoxville News Sentinel; and Donna Thomas, senior associate athletics director.

2:10–3:25 p.m.—Media Stereotypes: Women, Scripps Convergence Lab (Communications Building, fourth floor). Moderated by Margie Nichols, vice chancellor for communications, the panel will include Carly Harrington, business reporter, Knoxville News Sentinel; Tonja Johnson, UT System vice president, communications and marketing; and Jodi Rightler-McDaniels, director of general studies at South College.

5:05-6:20 p.m.—Open Forum on Diversity and Dating/Marriage, Scripps Lab. Moderated by students Kathleen Duff and Brittany Singh, the panel will include students Bethany Miniard, Evelyn Morales, and Gabrielle Le Flore; Jodi Rightler-McDaniels, director of general studies at South College; and Will McDaniels, CCI administrative support assistant

Wednesday, September 24: Institutional Issues

8:55-9:55 a.m.—Diversity and Health: Economics, Access, and Technology, Patrick Auditorium. Moderated by Assistant Professor Kimberly Douglass, the panel will include Nan Gaylord, associate professor of nursing; Danae Miley, board member of Open Hands Musculotherapy; and Ben Smith, owner of Heartland Apothecary.

12:20–1:20 p.m.—Diversity and the Workplace: Perspectives from Recent Graduates, Patrick Auditorium. Moderated by Associate Professor Lisa Fall and John Haas, interim director of the School of Advertising and Public Relations, the panel will include Kelly Absher, owner of Marketing and Events; Katy Llewellyn, account executive, WATE-TV; Diane Nash, digital database analyst at Scripps Networks Interactive; and Ellis Turner, retail leadership development program, Verizon.

5:45-6:45 p.m.—Keynote address by Aponte, McClung auditorium.

Thursday, September 25 : Public Policy Issues

11:10 a.m.–12:25 p.m. —Understanding Sexuality: Civil Rights Issues, Scripps Lab. Moderated by Associate Professor Bharat Mehra, the panel will include Associate Professor Donna Braquet, director of the OUTreach Center; Ben Byers, president of  East Tennessee Equality Council and Knoxville PrideFest; Gary Elgin, YouTube talk show producer and host and LGBTQ activist; Joan Heminway, the W. P. Toms Distinguished Professor of Law; and Karyn Storts-Brinks, Fulton High School librarian and faculty sponsor of FHS’s Gay-Straight Alliance.

2:10-3:25 p.m.—Diversity and Education: Public Policy Issues, Humanities and Social Sciences Building, Room 123. Panelists will include Ken Green, chief district support officer, Tennessee Department of Education; Assistant Professor Dorian McCoy; and Gloria Deathridge, member of the Knox County School Board.

5:00-7:00 p.m.—Diversity Festival, Circle Park. An all-campus barbecue with diverse music, dance, games, a photo booth, and cultural performances. All CCI student organizations will be participating.

C O N T A C T:

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,