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Charles and Julie Wharton Award Presented to Michele Atkins, Director of UT Extension Henry County

UT Institute of Agriculture Presents Top Faculty and Staff Awards for 2020

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture recognized extraordinary service from members of the faculty and staff across the state at its annual awards and promotions event, held this year on August 21, 2020. Honorees were recognized virtually during a Zoom presentation rather than a fun, in-person luncheon. This change in venue did not minimize the amazing accomplishments for 2020. Many of the awards are gifts made possible by past faculty, alumni and friends of the Institute.

Michele Atkins, director of UT Extension Henry County, is one of three winners of the Charles and Julie Wharton Award for Outstanding Extension Achievements. The award is presented to an agent from each region of Tennessee and recognizes winners in agriculture, family and consumer sciences and 4-H. Atkins represents West Tennessee and is recognized for her achievements in family and consumer sciences. The other winners are Ruth Correll of Wilson County for agriculture and Sharon Davis of Knox County for 4-H.

“I am both humbled and honored to receive the Wharton Award,” Atkins says. “An Extension program develops over the years through the work and support of many, many people. This award is an honor that I share with my co-workers–present and past–and the great people of Henry County.”

Atkins has 23 years of experience with Extension and has served in 4-H and in family and consumer sciences. She was Henry County’s ‘Person of the Year’ in 2018 and is the current president of the Chamber of Commerce. Atkins is praised for her ability to market 4-H to kids and parents, and her 4-Hers perform many hours of community service. If you smell something good cooking at the Henry County Fair, that could be Michele’s award-winning 4-H meat cookery team.

UT Institute of Agriculture Senior Vice President Tim Cross hosted the Zoom session for the award winners and praised them for their work. “Now more than ever, it’s critical that we take time to acknowledge the award-winning work that our faculty and staff carry out, even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic,” Cross says. “Tennesseans can count on the real-life solutions that the UT Institute of Agriculture provides to students and stakeholders from communities throughout Tennessee and beyond to enhance the economy, conserve the environment, and develop leaders for the future.”

Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. utia.tennessee.edu.

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