UT President’s Council Will Hold its Ninth Annual Showcase and Awards Dinner on Nov. 18, in Pulaski, Tennessee

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KNOXVILLE – The University of Tennessee President’s Council will hold its ninth annual showcase and awards dinner on Nov. 18, in Pulaski, Tennessee.

President’s Council members will have the opportunity to tour the System’s newest campus, UT Southern, as part of the showcase and awards event.

Members will hear from the Bank of Frankewing officials about a new college student advisory program, Ingram Scholars program and a new grant received for early detection of health factors: vision, hearing, blood pressure, height and weight in school children. The showcase will conclude with a “day in the life” tour of campus led by three students followed by a driving tour of the main campus.

After the day’s activities, members will attend the President’s Council Awards Dinner at 7 p.m. at the Mule Barn. Harwell, Holland, Stone and the Extra Credits, UT Southern’s student band, will provide the evening’s entertainment and Dewitt Booth will serve as the master of ceremonies.

The dinner will honor four UT leaders for their service to the University.

“Thanks to the leadership and continued service from these four honorees, our University flourishes” UT System President Randy Boyd said. “I am grateful for their contributions, and I know that my sentiment is echoed System-wide.”

Emily Capadalis Love, a 1978 UT Knoxville alumna, will be inducted into the UT Alumni Association Past President’s Council. Capadalis Love is a longtime leader in the alumni association—she served as the chair of the UTAA Women’s Council in 2013, the Women’s Council representative on the UTAA Board of Governors starting in 2014 and a three-year term on the board starting in 2016. In 2020, Capadalis Love was elected as president of the UT Alumni Association and became the first president to serve two consecutive terms due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Capadalis Love has also served on the UTFI Strategic Planning Committee, and she is a member of the UT President’s Council and the Alumni Legislative Council.

Mike Littlejohn, a 1973 UT Knoxville Haslam College of Business graduate, will receive the President’s Council Service Award. Littlejohn has served on the UT Alumni Association Board of Governors, the UT Development Council and as chair of the UT Foundation Board of Directors during the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years. In 2000, he founded the Mike Littlejohn Scholarship Endowment, which has helped 74 students in the Haslam College of Business fulfill their dreams of an education. Littlejohn also received the UT Knoxville Alumni Service award in 2015.

Melanie Smith Taylor, the owner of Wildwood Farm, will be honored with the UT Philanthropist of the Year Award. Smith Taylor and her family announced in 2021 that the 350-acre farm will be transferred to UT Martin upon her death. A property appraisal on the property value and $3 million in new construction confirmed the total commitment’s value at more than $79.5 million—the largest gift made to the UT System. Smith Taylor’s generous commitment will allow the University to increase educational program offerings in veterinary health technology and other agricultural disciplines in the near future. 

Charles Wharton, a current member of the UT President’s Council and associate member of the UT College of Veterinary Medicine (UTVCM) Board of Advisors, will be presented with the Jim and Natalie Haslam Presidential Medal. Wharton is a former member of the UT Board of Trustees, UT Foundation Board, UTIA Advancement Board, UTAA Board of Governors, UTSI Support Council, UTAA Board of Governors Annual Giving Standing Committee, UT Research Foundation Board and the former chair of the UT Development Council among other leadership roles. Most recently, Wharton established the Charles and Julie Wharton Endowment to expand he and his late wife’s support of UTCVM. In honor of his generosity and service, the UTCVM Large Animal Hospital was renamed the Charles and Julie Wharton Large Animal Hospital.

About the Awards
The Jim and Natalie Haslam Presidential Medal was first awarded in 2007 to Sen. Howard H. Baker, Jr. In addition to exemplary giving, leadership and service, honorees demonstrate a willingness and ability to motivate others to support the University, show a lifelong commitment to UT and higher education and have personal history of integrity and excellence in all aspects of life. Other previous recipients include Sen. Lamar Alexander (2018), Jim and Sandy Powell (2017), Dr. Bob Kaplan (2016), John and Ann Tickle (2015), the late Hank Lauricella (2014) R. Clayton McWhorter (2013), Andrea Loughry (2012), former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen (2011), Scott L. Probasco Jr. (2010), the late Pat Summitt (2009) and Peyton Manning (2008).

Initiated in 2007, the Philanthropist of the Year Award goes to a donor who has made a significant gift to the University of Tennessee. It recognizes the profound impact a single gift can make to the University. Previous winners include H.J. Maxedon, Jr. (2020), Bill and Rosann Nunnelly (2019), Gary and Kathleen Rollins (2018), Bill Latimer (2017), Jim and Judi Herbert (2016), Jim and Sandy Powell (2015), Donnie and Terry Smith (2014), Dr. Bob Kaplan (2013), Brenda Lawson (2012), Charles and Moll Anderson (2011), John and Ann Tickle (2010), Tom and Kathleen Elam (2009), Barbara and Ralph Hamilton (2008) and Jane O. and David T. Bailey (2007).

The President’s Council Service Award acknowledges exceptional service in the advancement of the University toward the achievement of excellence. Previous recipients include Lynne Fain (2020), Michael Strickland (2019), Thomas Griscom (2018), Waymon Hickman (2017), Phillip Fulmer (2016), Jim Duke (2015), Dr. Phil Wenk (2014), Michael T. Strickland (2013), Bill Blankenship (2012), Jim Powell (2011), Waymon Hickman (2010), Charles and the late Julie Wharton (2009), John Sorey (2008) and Charlie W. Brinkley, Jr. (2007).

Since its inception in 1965, the UT Alumni Association Past President’s Council has served as an advisory council to the alumni association and as a resource for current alumni programs.

About the President’s Council
The President’s Council is a constituency of alumni and friends who understand and support higher education broadly in Tennessee. It is comprised of volunteer leaders who have the opportunity to serve as the University’s premier advocates. The council is the UT System president’s core volunteer leadership group charged with advancing the System’s mission to serve the people of Tennessee and beyond through discovery, communication and application of knowledge necessary to create a cohesive, consistent and unifying system model of advancement.

The University of Tennessee is a statewide system of higher education with campuses in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Martin, Memphis and Pulaski; the UT Institute of Agriculture with a presence in every Tennessee county; and the statewide Institute for Public Service. The UT System manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory through its UT-Battelle partnership; enrolls about 54,000 students statewide; produces about 13,000 new graduates every year; and represents more than 433,000 alumni around the world.

Contact:
Melissa Tindell, 865-974-0741, mtindell@tennessee.edu, 505 Summer Place, UT Tower #1236, Knoxville, TN 37902

Natalie Keener, 865-974-4211, nkeener@tennessee.edu, 505 Summer Place, UT Tower #1241A, Knoxville, TN 37902