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Two University of Tennessee, Knoxville, faculty and staff members — Georgi Gardiner and Craig Pickett Jr. — were honored in the 2022 40 Under 40 awards for making a difference through their professional careers and philanthropic efforts.

The group will be featured in the this month’s edition of magazine.

Georgi Gardiner

Gardiner is an assistant professor of philosophy in the College of Arts and Sciences. Her research specializes in sexual trauma. She received the Notable UT Woman Award at last year’s Honors Banquet. In her spare time, she is a circus performer.

“I want my students to see how philosophy matters in their own lives,” said Gardiner in an interview with KnoxNews. “I’d love them to continue thinking philosophically after they graduate. I don’t distinguish between philosophical thinking and generally thinking well about life; they are continuous. And so I would love to create accessible philosophy that is read by the general public and that illuminates the philosophy of everyday life. I’d love to help bring philosophy out of the ivory tower and into people’s homes.”

Craig Pickett Jr.

Pickett serves as the director for diversity, equity, and inclusion for the UT Institute of Agriculture. He facilitates best practices for enhancing inclusivity and engagement across UTIA, including at the 10 statewide AgResearch and Education Centers and the UT Extension offices in each county.

“Each day, I am fortunate to work for an organization that consistently focuses on inclusive excellence, accountability, collaboration, and engagement, as we meet the land-grant mission of enhancing the lives of all 7 million residents within the state of Tennessee,” said Pickett in an interview with KnoxNews. “I strive to create environments that allow stakeholders to be their authentic self while promoting innovation, creativity, discovery, and excellence.”

Eight UT alumni were also honored in this year’s “40 Under 40” class.


Lindsey Owen McBee (865-974-6375,