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Volunteer Service Award

The purpose of this award is to recognize exceptional service or long-term leadership to the College of Arts and Sciences or to an academic department or program within the College. It is designed to publicly acknowledge those individuals—alumni or friends—who have given significant amounts of time and talent over an extended period of time.


Lillian Mashburn graduated with a BS in education from UT with a major in history and minor in political science and economics. Mashburn’s volunteer service to the college include first a board member and, since 2011, chair of the Department of Religious Studies Board of Visitors. Her generosity and enthusiasm for the Religious Studies Department has helped them thrive. She attends and helps to advertise departmental events, and her work has helped the department expand its lecture series, navigate a successful 50th anniversary, and develop an active and supportive Board of Visitors. She is a staunch advocate for the Humanities at UT. She describes herself as a long-time amateur student of Religious Studies. She has served as the executive director of the National Conference of Christians and Jews. During her tenure, she organized new programs to encourage the Knoxville religious community to share their faiths and celebrate religious diversity with events at churches and synagogues.

She has been a trailblazer in many areas of her life by serving as the first woman president of the Knoxville Technical Society, the first woman to be a Life Member of the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce, and the first woman elected to the Board of the East Tennessee Economic Council. She has held local and national positions with multiple organizations in the higher education and scientific research arenas. She was the founding president of the Executive Women’s Association. She has also been very engaged with the Baker Center, UT’s College of Engineering and other UT entities.

Charlie Penley graduated from UT with a degree in microbiology in 1978. He received his medical degree from Wake Forest and achieved a high level of professional success through his career as an oncologist. He served his profession by volunteering for American Society of Clinical Oncology including, the chair of the Clinical Practice committee, Government Relations committee, and Conquer Cancer Foundation. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Association of Community Cancer Centers. Penley’s contributions to the College of Arts and Sciences include being a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board since 2007, chair from 2014-16, and serving on the search committee for the executive director of development in 2015. His nonprofit experience helped guide the advisory board’s response to issues facing the university, such as legislative advocacy and achieving Top 25 benchmarks. Finally, He and his wife Connally established the Penley Fund for Graduate Studies in Arts and Sciences in 2008, which provides graduate student awards in any discipline within the college in order to attract top quality graduate students to our programs.

Betty Beaumonte (’74) graduated with a BA in Latin from the Department of Classics and has served in various roles, including marketing, communications, and HR at Proctor and Gamble for 24 years. Her final role was as associate director of human resources. Since retiring, Bettye has devoted herself to volunteering for a variety of organizations both at UT and in the Cincinnati area. Bettye has served as a Board Member for the Archaeological Institute of America at the University of Cincinnati, the World Figure Skating Championship, and Cincinnati Bicentennial Committee (as P&G rep). In addition, Bettye has served as an officer for the Cincinnati Art Museum Docent Corps, Hyde Park Center for Older Adults, Greek Alumni Advisors Council at the University of Cincinnati, and the Cincinnati Alumnae Panhellenic Association. Bettye serves as Council President, Trustees Chair, Staff-Parish Relations, and e-newsletter editor for Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church. At UT, Bettye has served on the Classics Advisory Committee since 2013, designed and helped implement a system for recruiting more majors and minors for the department, and participated in a video project. Bettye set up the Athena Travel Fund Endowment in the classics department to help students with travel costs.

The Arab American Club of Knoxville (AACK) and its individual board members (Susan Dakak, Lina Shatara, Maysoon Nadrous, Suzanne Mubarak, Samia Hanna, Rula Habibi, Helen Harb, Robert Darraj, Suhair Burbar, Randa Halloun, and Susie Saah) have worked with UT for years and include many long-term donors. Collectively, the club has supported and enhanced the Medical Center, the McClung Museum, the Baker Center, the School of Music, the Departments of Religious Studies, History, Political Science, Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures, and the newly formed program in Middle East Studies. They have financially sponsored museum displays and outreach events, musical programming, and the ongoing Arab Fest, now in its fourth year. Most recently, they have worked to raise thousands of dollars toward the university’s first endowment related to Middle East Studies programming and student travel. AACK devotes considerable resources to planning and executing our annual Arab cultural festival. Although AACK partners with various departments in the College, the board members themselves purchase many of the items that make Arab Fest a success and spend hundreds and hundreds of hours from February until October planning programming and coordinating an army of community and student volunteers. The Arab American Club truly embodies the Volunteer spirit, modeling civic engagement to our students and helping the college fulfill UT’s mandate as a land-grant institution. They give of their time, money, and talents for one purpose – to enhance the cultural experiences of the UT student body and the greater Knoxville community.

John Turley (’74) completed a bachelor’s degree in history and went on to build a successful career as a real estate developer. He has served on the board of the McClung Museum of Natural History for several years. He currently serves as Chair of the Advisory Committee for UT’s Department of History.

W. Michael Dennis (’76), who received a doctorate in botany, has been a very active member of the Dean’s Advisory Board as well as a volunteer in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Botany for nearly forty years. He has personally led forty consecutive annual Wildflower Pilgrimages.

Wade Guyton (’95), Meredyth Sparks (’94) and Joshua Smith (’98).  This team of internationally recognized artists created the Artist-in-Residence Limited Box Series of prints, a fundraising project to endow the artist-in-residence position in painting and drawing in the School of Art. Wade Guyton earned a bachelor’s degree in with a major in the College Scholars Program. Meredyth Sparks and Joshua Smith completed bachelor’s degrees in art.