Extraordinary Service Honored Amid Pandemic​

Picture collage of two award winners
Carl Sams​, distinguished professor in the Department of Plant Sciences, and Karen Tobias, professor in Small Animal Clinical Sciences at the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, are recipients of the Institute Professor Award. The Institute Professor Award is the highest honor presented by UTIA. 


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.

UT Institute of Agriculture Senior Vice President and Senior Vice Chancellor 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.“

The 2020 winners are:

Charles and Patricia Goan Customer Service Award – Ruth Correll, UT-TSU Extension Wilson County

Bill and Ann Hicks New Extension Worker Award – Kayla Jenkins, UT Extension Macon County

Vernon and Ida Darter Award – Sarah Ransom, UT-TSU Extension Johnson County

Lloyd and Nettie Downen Award – Stacy Clark, UT-TSU Extension Lawrence County

G.L. Carter 4-H Agent Award – Karen Nelms, UT Extension Jefferson County

Alice Ann Moore 4-H Agent Award – Tonya Bain, UT Extension Crockett County


Tennessee Association of Agricultural Agents/Hicks Award –

Justin Hargrove, UT Extension Benton County

Adam Hopkins, UT Extension Area Specialist Jefferson County

Heath Nokes, UT-TSU Extension Warren County


Charles and Julie Wharton Award of Extension Achievements –

Michele Atkins, UT Extension Henry County

Ruth Correll, UT-TSU Extension Wilson County

Sharon Davis, UT-TSU Extension Knox County


Cavender Awards for Best Publication – 

Cotton Nitrogen Management in Tennessee (Publication W 783), Lori Duncan, Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, and Tyson Raper, Department of Plant Sciences

Rose Diseases: Identification and Management (Publication W 833), Alan Windham and Mark Windham, both of the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology


J.E. Moss Achievement Awards –

William Hart, UT Herbert College of Agriculture, Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science

Shawn Hawkins, UT Extension, Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science

Robert Reed, UT College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Biomedical and Diagnostic Services

David White, UT AgResearch Administration


E.J. Chapman Award – Susie Nicholson, UT Extension, Western Region Office

Webster Pendergrass Award – Marcy Souza, UT College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Biomedical and Diagnostic Services

Mildred Pendergrass Award – Leslie Wereszczak, UT College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences

AgResearch Impact Award – Nicole Labbé, Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries

Professional/Academic Award – Kevin Hoyt, UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center

Miles Community Service Award – Chad Hellwinckel, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

B. Ray Thompson Award – John Wilson, UT-TSU Extension Blount County

Williams – E.R. “Prof” Lidvall Teaching Award – Lacey Johnston, Department of Animal Science

William D. Bishop Award – Rob Holland, UT Center for Profitable Agriculture

T.J. Whatley Young Scientist Award – Nour Abdoulmoumine, Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science

AgResearch Mid-Career Faculty Research Excellence Award – Jennifer DeBruyn, Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science

AgResearch Dean’s Award for Outstanding Service – Barbara Gillespie, Department of Animal Science

AgResearch Dean’s Award for Outstanding Professional Staff – Kimberly Campbell, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology

Institute Professor Award – Carl Sams, Department of Plant Sciences, and Karen Tobias, UT College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences


In addition to these awards, the following UTIA professionals received promotions to professor:

Bente Flatland, UT College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Biomedical and Diagnostic Services

Robert B. Reed, UT College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Biomedical and Diagnostic Services

Marcy J. Souza, UT College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Biomedical and Diagnostic Services

Brynn H. Voy, Department of Animal Science

Brian K. Whitlock, UT College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences

Frank Yin, Department of Plant Sciences

Edward Yu, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics


A list of all the 2020 UTIA promotions is online. ​ 


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

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Contact: 

Charles Denney, UTIA Marketing and Communications, 865-382-8058, cmdenney@utk.edu