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Alumni Awards

Distinguished alumni award

The School of Information Sciences offers two alumni awards  to recognize School alumni at the annual graduation and awards ceremony held in May. We invite you to nominate exceptional alumni for the following awards:

Innovator’s Award:

  • This award honors an alumnus or alumna who graduated at least two years earlier.
  • The recipient demonstrates innovation in the field of library and information sciences through cutting edge activities, forward thinking, leading trends, or reinventing a traditional service.

Distinguished Alumni Award:

  • This award honors an alumnus or alumna who graduated at least ten years previously.
  • The recipient demonstrates a meritorious career based on service, teaching, and/or scholarship.

Nomination & Selection Process:

Nominations consist of a resume of the nominee, a letter of nomination noting the award and including a rationale for why the nominee is meritorious and is deserving of this award.  Nominees must be willing to attend the hooding ceremony in May and say a few words to the graduates.

Nominations should be submitted to the School of Information Sciences with an online nomination. Deadline for nomination submission is April 17, 2015 for the 2015 awards. 

Award winners will be selected by the full time faculty of the School in consultation with previous award winners.  The recipient of the award is recognized at the annual SIS hooding and awards ceremony in May and is expected to attend this event in order to receive the award.

SIS Innovator's Award 

The SIS Innovator's Alumni Award was inaugurated at the 2009 Alumni & Friends Day.

  • 2015: Mary Beth West (2011) Quality Assurance Analyst, The Tombras Group
  • 2014: Jordan Nielsen  (2012) then Assistant Professor & Business Librarian, Unviersity of Arkansas; now Entrepreneurship, Marketing & Business Data Librarian, San Diego State University Library & Information Access
  • 2013: Andrea Baer, PhD (2010) Undergraduate Education Librarian at Indiana University-Bloomington
  • 2012: Jill Grogg (2001)Electronic Resources Coordinator & Professor (8/12), University of Alabama Libraries.
  • 2011: Jessica Waugh (2009) Health Information Specialist and Research Librarian Chesterfield County, VA Public Library System.
  • 2010: Beverly Simmons (2005) Reference & Instruction Librarian at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga
  • 2009: James Staub (2004) Systems Librarian at the Nashville Public Library, president of TLA Government Documents Roundtable (GODORT).

SIS Distinguished Alumni Award 

The SIS Distinguished Alumni Award was inaugurated at the School’s 30th Anniversary Celebration held on September 14, 2002 at the UT Conference Center. To honor graduates who have demonstrated professional achievement or leadership attributable to their education at the School, the alumni board chose to select representatives from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s - one award for each decade.

  • 2015: Dr. Danuta Nitecki ('76) Dean of Libraries, Drexel University
  • 2014: Marcellus Turner ('88) City Librarian, Seattle Public Library System
  • 2013: Dr. Shali Zhang ('88) Dean of Libraries and Professor at University of Montana
  • 2012:  Beth Davis-Brown ('84) Program Coordinator, Cooperative & Instructional Programs Division, Library of Congress
  • 2011: Bob Conrad ('83) Library Director, Oak Ridge National Labs
  • 2010Scot Smith ('98) Media Specialist at Robertsville Middle School in Oak Ridge, TN
  • 2009:  Dr. Mike Pemberton, Professor Emeritus, School of Information Sciences
  • 2008:  Pat Powell  ('96) Senior Vice-President of Business Development at Information International Associates (IIa)
  • 2007:  John Wilkin ('86) Co-interim University Librarian and Associate University Librarian for Library Information Technology, University of Michigan
  • 2006Martha Earl ('85) Reference Coordinator, University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, Preston Medical Library, Knoxville
  • 2005Steve Cotham ('78) Manager, Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection and Knox County Archives, Knoxville
  • 2003Jackson “Jack” Maxwell ('95) Information Specialist, Memphis City Schools
  • 1990sElizabeth “Liz” Bibby ('96) Director, Business Information Services Center, Baker Library, Harvard Business School
  • 1980sBiddanda “Suresh” Ponnappa ('84) Assistant Dean for Learning Resources, Director, Quillen Medical Library and Biomedical Communications Department
  • 1970sVicky Leather ('78) Director of Libraries, Chattanooga State Technical College