UT Institute of Agriculture Presents Top Faculty and Staff Awards for 2023
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture recognized some of its top faculty, staff, researchers and Extension experts at UTIA’s annual awards and promotions luncheon on the UTIA campus in Knoxville on August 15, 2023. Many of the awards are gifts made possible by faculty, alumni and friends of the Institute.
UT Institute of Agriculture Senior Vice Chancellor and Senior Vice President Keith Carver hosted the award winners and celebrated their work. “I’m excited to celebrate the amazing work of our UTIA faculty and staff,” says Carver. “These awards are well-deserved and represent our employees’ steadfast dedication to their work, the Institute and the people of Tennessee. The impact of their accomplishments and passion will be felt for generations to come.”
Jason Reeves, research associate at the UT Gardens, Jackson, is the recipient of the Mildred Pendergrass Award for Outstanding Service. This award, presented in memory of Mildred Pendergrass, wife of the former Vice President for Agriculture Webster Pendergrass, is given to employees among the technical, skill and service staff of the Institute.
“I am humbled and honored to receive the Mildred Pendergrass Award for Outstanding Service for 2023,” says Reeves. “I have been blessed to be part of the Institute of Agriculture for almost 21 years where I have been able to share my passion and knowledge for horticulture and the natural world with so many. Thanks to the Pendergrass family for making this award possible.”
Reeves played a key role in the establishment of UT Gardens, Jackson located at the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center. Over the years, he has maintained thousands of plants at UT Gardens, Jackson, through his own efforts as well as through the team of summer workers, interns and Master Gardener volunteers he supervises. He also grows hundreds of varieties of plants to be sold during the plant sales hosted each spring and fall, as well as conducts trials to test many species of ornamental plants. His passion for horticulture is only matched by his passion for educating others, whether it is through garden tours, classes and even personal mentorship through internships available to college students.
Reeves earned a master’s degree in ornamental horticulture and landscape design from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 1999. He is also a two-time recipient of the Directors Award in both 2008 and 2019.
Through its land-grant mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. utia.tennessee.edu.