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.
Leslie Wereszczak, a senior clinical specialist in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences at the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, is the winner of the Mildred Pendergrass Award. This honor is presented in memory of the wife of former UT Vice President of Agriculture Webster Pendergrass and recognizes UTIA employees among the technical, skill and service staff of the Institute.
“To receive an award for outstanding service means that I have always had so many supportive people behind me,” Wereszczak says. “It is wonderful to work in an environment where part of everyone’s mission is not just to get the job done but discover what we learned and how we can do it even better the next time. That is the kind of energy that feeds my soul and drives me forward.”
Wereszczak has 20 years of service in the emergency and critical care unit at the College of Veterinary Medicine, where she supervises the ICU. She helps lead a veterinary nursing team of more than two dozen professionals and has won previous veterinary nursing awards herself.
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.