MEMPHIS (June 25) – University of Tennessee President Randy Boyd recognized six employees from across the UT System during the summer Board of Trustees meeting in Memphis Friday morning. Among those were Ray Witmer and Anthony Prewitt of UT Martin.
The President’s Awards were established in 2016 to annually consider the exceptional achievements of employees across the UT System in the areas of the University’s three-part mission to educate, discover and connect as well as to acknowledge outstanding contributions in the areas of support and diversity. The awards spotlight success and inspire excellence.
Educate Honoree: Ray Witmer
Ray Witmer, a highly-respected associate professor of engineering, has made a lasting impact on the UT Martin Department of Engineering, as well as countless students and staff members. As a civil engineer, Witmer’s real-world experiences have benefitted the department in numerous ways. He created courses not offered at many other schools to provide his students state-of-the-art knowledge and experiences. He constantly modifies and updates his courses to ensure his students are getting lessons that could later be applied to larger challenges. He focuses his recruitment efforts in middle schools and high schools across the region. One of his favorite aspects of his position is getting to visit local schools to show students demonstrations of what a career in STEM can offer. As a result of his efforts, the UT Martin engineering program has seen a tremendous increase in students studying STEM. In addition to his educational endeavors, Witmer assisted in the design of the Latimer Engineering and Science Building, the first academic building to be constructed at UT Martin in more than 40 years.
Diversity Honoree: Anthony Prewitt
Anthony Prewitt, UT Martin interim director for multicultural affairs, has been a driving force in diversity for many years. Prewitt is a consistent voice for all students, and in the past year, he has ensured COVID-19 would not keep UT Martin from celebrating those who fight for equal rights. Since assuming his role, Prewitt has led more than 50 programs aimed at celebrating diversity, promoting thoughtful discussion, addressing tough issues and creating a sense of belonging for his students. Prewitt helped establish the Black Student Mentoring Collaborative to connect black students with faculty and staff members from the same background who can share and understand their experiences as students of color. Prewitt was the driving force behind Captain’s Pantry, which is stocked by students, faculty, staff and community members and is open to all students in need. Prewitt ensures every student has a voice regarding their ethnicity, religious differences, lifestyle choices or other cultural characteristics.
“It is a privilege to work alongside these inspiring individuals who intentionally lead in our efforts to serve the people of Tennessee,” Boyd said. “They represent our best-in-class thinking and strategic work across our great state and remain an essential part of building the greatest decade in UT history.”
President’s Awards are the highest honor a UT employee can receive from the University. Honorees are selected each year from a system-wide pool of candidates nominated by campus and institute leaders. Winners receive commemorative plaques and $3,000.
This year’s winners represent UT Martin, UT Health Science Center, UT Chattanooga and UT System administration.
For more information on the President’s Awards, this year’s winners and a full list of nominees, visit https://president.tennessee.edu/awards/2021-honorees-and-nominees/.