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Alumni, faculty, and friends of the College of Nursing gathered earlier this week at the Knoxville Marriott for the seventh annual NightinGala to honor outstanding individuals for their noteworthy accomplishments to the college and the nursing profession.

Joe Mont McAfee
Dean Victoria Niederhauser congratulates Joe Mont McAfee on receiving the Volunteer Nursing Champion award.

Joe Mont McAfee Jr. (’60) received the Volunteer Nursing Champion award. The honor recognizes an individual who is committed to improving health care and has made significant contributions to the nursing profession and local community.

Sandra Thomas
Dean Victoria Niederhauser awards Sandra Thomas the Dr. Sylvia E. Hart Distinguished Alumni Award.

Sandra Thomas, professor and chair of the PhD program in nursing, received the Dr. Sylvia E. Hart Distinguished Alumni Award. Thomas joined the faculty in 1983 and serves as editor in chief of Issues in Mental Health Nursing magazine.

“The College of Nursing is so fortunate to have the support from the Knoxville community, alumni, faculty, and friends,” said Victoria Niederhauser, dean of the college. “This support makes it possible for us to do the best job to educate the next generation of nurses, nurse leaders, and nurse scientists that will improve the health and health care system for the people of Tennessee and beyond.”

Attendees enjoyed food, drinks, a silent auction, and special entertainment. WBIR anchor Robin Wilhoit served as emcee. Funds from the dinner will support the NightinGala scholarship, which benefits nursing students. Two nursing students, junior Adriann Evans and senior Bekah Massi, spoke about the significance of this financial assistance.

Corporate sponsors for the event included East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, National Healthcare Corporation, Pilot Flying J, and the University of Tennessee Medical Center.



Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,