Ann Robinson-Craig, business manager for Humanities Shared Services at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is being recognized with the highest honor available to a staff member at the university: the Volunteer Spirit Award, given annually to those who have gone above and beyond the expectations of their professional role to act with courage and give of themselves in extraordinary ways.
“My roots are deep in this college,” Robinson-Craig said. “I’ve been very devoted to the unique mission of this college, and it’s been a real privilege for me to be able to serve here and work with our faculty and staff.”
Robinson-Craig was surprised with her award by R.J. Hinde, interim executive dean of the college, in front of the directors and department heads who nominated her for the honor.
“Ann is the embodiment of the Volunteer Spirit Award to me,” said Tina Shepherdson, head of the Department of Religious Studies, who was one of the individuals to nominate Robinson-Craig. “She has such dedication to her work, such generosity to everybody she works with and just an extraordinary compassion for the people on this campus. From workers at all levels, the students, the faculty, staff — she’s really invested and engaged in the community in every way possible.”
Before moving to her current position, Robinson-Craig served as the college’s budget director for more than 30 years. A native of Kingsport, Tennessee, she always knew she wanted to study history at UT, where she was inspired by professors such as Sarah Blanshei, Jonathan Utley and Bruce Wheeler. After earning her bachelor’s degree in history and her master’s in accounting, and working as a CPA for an international accounting firm for a few years, Robinson-Craig received a call about an opening in the dean’s office.
“Working for an institution that I love, one in which I’m invested, and one in whose mission I believe — it’s totally different from being a public accountant or an accountant in an industry for me. I’ve been privileged to work with the faculty and the staff in the College of Arts and Sciences. I’ve always felt that I was making a difference,” she said.
Robinson-Craig grew up in a household that embraced a service mentality. The daughter of a minister and teacher, she sees her work in the college as enabling the facilitation of the faculty’s work with students.
Even through economic difficulties, a pandemic and a changing college, Robinson-Craig remembers the dedication of her colleagues and the kindness of the college’s faculty. She will be formally presented with the award at the Chancellor’s Honors Banquet, held later in the spring.
Lindsey Owen McBee (865-974-6375, email@example.com)