UT Institute of Agriculture Presents Top Faculty and Staff Awards for 2021

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Banner Year and Banner Performance Despite Pandemic

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.”

Douglas Hayes, professor in the Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, is the winner of the Charles E. Wharton Institute Professor Award. The award is UTIA’s highest honor.

The other 2021 winners are:

Charles and Patricia Goan Customer Service Award – Justin Rhinehart, Department of Animal Science

Bill and Ann Hicks New Extension Worker Award – Brigitte Passman, UT Extension Tipton County

Vernon and Ida Darter Award – Chris Binkley, UT Extension Van Buren County

G.L. Carter 4-H Agent Award – Amy Willis, UT Extension Rutherford County

Alice Ann Moore 4-H Agent Award – Emily Osterhaus, UT Extension Bedford County

Tennessee Association of Agricultural Agents and Specialists/Hicks Award –
Dallas Manning, UT Extension Coffee County
Blake Ramsey, UT Extension Hawkins County

Charles and Julie Wharton Award of Extension Achievements –
Vickie Clark, UT Extension Carter County
Sondra Ganus-Thorne, UT Extension Hardin County
Timmy Mann, UT Extension Robertson County

Cavender Award for Best Publication (two awards) –
Manufacturing Non-Potentially Hazardous Foods in Tennessee Without a Permit (PB 1881)
Mark Morgan, Department of Food Science
Nathan Miller, Department of Food Science
Megan Leffew, UT Center for Profitable Agriculture

Your Guide to Food Pantries (PB 1884)
Chris Sneed, Janie Burney, and Ann Berry, all with UT Extension Family and Consumer Sciences

J.E. Moss Achievement Awards –
Blake Brown, UT AgResearch, AgResearch and Education Center at Milan
Brent Lamons, Herbert College of Agriculture
Heather Sedges, UT Extension Family and Consumer Sciences
Deborah Shepherd, UT College of Veterinary Medicine

E.J. Chapman Award – Kristy Keel-Blackmon, Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries

Webster Pendergrass Award – Alan Windham, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology

Mildred Pendergrass Award – Billy Williams, Office of Information Technology Services

AgResearch Impact Award – Feng Chen, Department of Plant Sciences

Professional/Academic Award – Sandra Lindsey, Office of Information Technology Services

B. Ray Thompson Award – Dan Ward, UT College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences

Williams – “Prof” Lidvall Outstanding Teaching Award – Adam Willcox, Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries

William D. Bishop Award – David Bilderback, UT Extension Eastern Region

William T. Miles Award for Community Service – Sharon Jean-Philippe, Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries

T.J. Whatley Distinguished Young Scientist Award – Phillip Myer, Department of Animal Science

AgResearch Mid-Career Faculty Research Excellence Award – Neelam Poudyal, Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries

AgResearch Dean’s Award for Outstanding Support Staff – Bill Lively, UT AgResearch, East Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center

AgResearch Dean’s Award for Outstanding Professional Staff – Susan Schexnayder, Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries

​​Many faculty and staff also received promotions, tenure or both. A list of all the 2021 UTIA promotions is online. ​ 

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.

Media Contact

Katie Whitehouse

UTIA Marketing and Communications