UT Institute of Agriculture Presents Top Faculty and Staff Awards for 2021
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 July 30, 2021. The event was conducted in person, a welcome return to normalcy after having an online ceremony because of the pandemic last year. The awards honor the extraordinary performance of UTIA employees during a difficult year of online education and changes to procedures because of the pandemic. Many of the awards are gifts made possible by faculty, alumni and friends of the Institute.
UTIA Senior Vice President Tim Cross hosted the award winners and praised them for their work. “After a challenging and stressful year, it’s a pleasure to recognize excellence as exemplified by these award-winning members of the UTIA faculty and staff,” Cross says. “Their continuing dedication to our land-grant mission of serving Tennessee ensures that we develop and deliver real life solutions to improve health, grow the economy and enhance our environment.”
Sondra Ganus Thorne, director of UT Extension in Hardin County, is one of three winners of the Charles and Julie Wharton Award for Outstanding Extension Achievements. The award recognizes winners from each region of Tennessee, with Ganus Thorne representing the west. Vickie Clark of Carter County represents the east, and Timmy Mann from Robertson County is the winner of this award for Middle Tennessee.
“I am honored to receive the 2021 Charles and Julie Wharton Award for Outstanding Extension Achievement,” Ganus Thorne says. “As a young child, I knew I wanted to pursue a career allowing me to build relationships with families and make positive, meaningful impacts whenever possible. UT Extension has given me the opportunity to serve the wonderful families in Marshall and Hardin counties. It is my hope that through my programming, I am able to provide youth and adults new skills and gain a better understanding of how to be healthy, safe and successful. I am truly grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Wharton for making this recognition possible.”
Ganus Thorne has worked the past 17 years for Extension, beginning in Marshall County and returning to her hometown of Savannah in 2007. Her primary focus today is well-being and nutrition for all ages, which includes diabetes education, co-parenting classes, arthritis exercise and tai chi instruction as well as work with home environment issues. She recently became a certified mediator for the state of Tennessee and believes this will be helpful in her parenting classes. Ganus Thorne is also involved with the Hardin County Fair by assisting with many events and serving as the advisor for the Junior Fair Board.
Through land-grant its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. utia.tennessee.edu.