SGAEC Reflects on Faculty, Student and Staff Leadership During Awards Banquet

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The Imhotep Society welcomed 146 new students during SGAEC’s awards banquet. Some of the inductees are shown here. (Photo by Joseph Martin)

The Student Government Association Executive Council (SGAEC) showed their appreciation to faculty and staff and welcomed 146 student inductees into the prestigious Imhotep Society during their annual awards banquet held on April 18 at the Student-Alumni Center. The inductees for the Imhotep Society were comprised of members from all six of UTHSC’s colleges.

Outgoing SGAEC President Lee Pribyl addresses the crowd. (Photo by Joseph Martin)

SGAEC President Lee Pribyl presided over the event and recapped the council’s goals and accomplishments from the past year. Each college student government president also gave an update of accomplishments from their college.

Highlights of the night included presenting the Phil C. Webb award to physical therapy student Will Burleson. The award is given each year to a student who provides outstanding contributions and leadership service in extracurricular activities and student life. “Will works part time for the Campus Recreation department, but devotes much of his free time to help that department succeed with student recreational activities,” Pribyl said. “He is also the College of Health Professions’ SGA president and the SGAEC vice president.”

A special recognition award called the Imhotep Award was given to Jonnie Perez, director of the Office of Student Life at UTHSC. The award is presented to a staff member who goes beyond job duties to devote time and effort toward the student experience. “Jonnie showed true leadership qualities and provided assistance and help to many students over the past year, especially the student government,” Pribyl said. “He also planned, organized, and ran many successful student events this past year, including the Student Appreciation Day with the highest attendance ever, with over 900 students attending, which is almost a third of the student body.”

Two Excellence in Teaching Awards from each college were presented to faculty members who exhibited the following qualities: demonstration of outstanding teaching ability, presentation of materials in a way that sparks interest and independent thought, effective organization and communication of subjects, responsiveness to students inside and outside of classrooms, and genuine concern for students’ learning.

Dentistry student Shelly Gareiss presented Dr. Jegdish Babu with his Excellence in Teaching Award. (Photo by Joseph Martin)

The recipients were:
• Jegdish Babu, PhD, professor of Bioscience Research (College of Dentistry)
• James C. Ragain, DDS, associate professor of Restorative Dentistry (College of Dentistry)
• Santosh Kumar, PhD, associate professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences (College of Graduate Health Sciences)
• Lorraine Albritton, PhD, professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Biochemistry (College of Graduate Health Sciences)
• Jillian McCarthy, PhD, CCC-SLP, assistant professor of Audiology and Speech Pathology (College of Health Professions)
• Sajeesh Kumar, PhD, associate professor of Health Informatics and Information Management (College of Health Professions)
• Mark Miller, PhD, associate professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Biochemistry, and Medical Education (College of Medicine)
• Regan Williams, MD, assistant professor of Surgery and Pediatrics (College of Medicine)
• Christie Cavallo, MSN, RN, instructor of BSN/MSN Programs (College of Nursing)
• Crystal Walker, PhD, MSN-CNL, RN, assistant professor of Nursing-Academic Programs (College of Nursing)
• Shannon Finks, PharmD, FCCP, BCPS (AQ Cardiology), ASH-CHC, professor of Clinical Pharmacy (College of Pharmacy)
• Charles Yates, PharmD, PhD, professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Ophthalmology (College of Pharmacy)

Two Outstanding Teacher Awards were also given out on behalf of the UT Alumni Association. This year’s recipients were Penny Head, PT, MS, SCS, ATC, assistant professor of Physical Therapy in the College of Health Professions and Santosh Kumar, PhD, associate professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

All SGAEC members were provided a certificate and special award for their service, advocacy and leadership for the past year. The new SGAEC president was also announced during the banquet. It will be Physical Therapy student Anna Evans, who begins her role June 1.

The SGAEC is composed of the presidents from the Student Government Association of the six colleges at UTHSC. The president of the council is elected from one of the colleges on a rotation schedule. The council serves as the official representative of students, and acts as the liaison between the administration and the student body. The council has responsibility for the planning and development of activities and programs affecting students.

It serves as advisor and counsel to the various student service areas. Student appointments to campus committees are coordinated or approved by the SGAEC. Issues relating to student rights and responsibilities and campus services may also be administered or coordinated by the SGAEC. The meetings and activities of the SGAEC are supported by staff from the Office of Student Life.