As part of UTC’s 125th anniversary and UT’s 50th anniversary of desegregation, UTC   recognized several individuals for their achievements and contributions to community and society at the UTC African American Alumni Achievement Dinner held in the Bessie Smith Hall. 

Honorees with UTC Chancellor Roger Brown (far left)

“As we celebrate the history of our campus, it is an appropriate time to stop and recognize the significant contributions of our alumni,” said Jayne Holder ’74, alumni director. “We are proud of the progress our campus has made in embracing and celebrating diversity of all kinds. Recognizing African American alumni for their achievements is a wonderful way to mark this 50 year milestone.”

The UTC Alumni Council honored the following recipients of African American Alumni Achievement Awards:

Athletics—Terrell Owens

Terrell Owens

Terrell Owens played football and basketball and ran track during his years at UTC. Owens was drafted into the NFL and has played for the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills, and Cincinnati Bengals. During his illustrious pro football career, he has earned Six Pro-Bowl appearances, was named first–team All Pro by the Associated Press five times, and was the second NFL player to record five seasons with 13 or more touchdowns. Owens is also known for his philanthropic leadership, establishing the Catch A Dream Foundation, a non-profit organization to help underprivileged families and children. He is also an active supporter for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Alzheimer Association. Additionally, Owens is a successful author, with his children’s book “Little T Learns to Share” and “Finding Fitness,” in which he offers insight into his health and exercise regime. Owens can also be seen as the star of his own reality television program, “The T.O. Show.” Currently, in its third season, the show averages 1.5 million viewers weekly.

Business—Dr. Richard Brown

Dr. Richard Brown

In a career spanning more than a quarter century of progressive institutional leadership in the field of higher education, Dr. Richard Brown has guided UTC through many years of turbulent budget and financial challenges. As Senior Vice Chancellor for Finance, Operations, and Information Technology, he serves as a senior member of the University’s executive staff. He plays an integral role in institutional planning, quality assessment, efficiency and effectiveness and the accreditation process. As Tennessee institutions of higher learning work to be in compliance with the requirements of the Complete College Act, Brown took an active role when he was named by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission to assist with the development of a new higher education performance based funding model.  Brown was selected by UT President Joe DiPietro to chair the University’s Compensation Advisory Board.  He is a graduate of the prestigious Harvard University Business School’s Advanced Management Program. His extensive knowledge of higher education leadership and finance has made Brown a popular speaker at national conferences, including the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

Community and Civic Services—Valitus Edwards Sr. and Kenneth Parks

Valitus Edwards Sr.

Valitus Edwards Sr. retired from EPB as Human Resources Analyst and Lead Recruiter, having risen from the ranks of groundsman and meter reader. His commitment to education was demonstrated by his administration of the Tuition Reimbursement Program, where he encouraged EPB employees to pursue high education—including President Harold DePriest, who earned an MBA from UTC under Edwards’s oversight. After retiring from EPB, Edwards joined the staff of UTC as assistant director of professional development in continuing education. He continues to volunteer in the educational community, currently serving as a college counselor at Brainerd High School.

Kenneth Parks

Kenneth Parks, likewise, pursued a career in education. He taught foreign language in Hamilton County Public Schools until accepting the position of foreign language teacher at Baylor School in 1985. Parks’ students have placed in the top five in national French contests, and in 1994, one of his Spanish students won a national contest with a perfect score.

Edwards and Parks are part of the musical group Love, Peace, and Happiness, known for their enthusiastic and moving R&B performances. Their CD “We Won’t Stop Until We Get to the Top” has become a national anthem for student academic performance, selected by the National Network of Partnership Schools as a Best Practice to encourage student achievement. These outstanding educators and musicians found the pitch perfect way to combine their interests for the betterment of America’s students.

Leadership—Dr. Loretta P. Prater

Dr. Loretta Prater

With a career that began as a teacher in junior and senior high schools, Dr. Loretta P. Prater excelled.  Named a district wide High School Teacher of the Year, this Chattanooga alumna later accepted a position in the central office of the Chattanooga Public School System.  When she returned to UTC to teach, she was selected as the first C. C. Bond Professor of Education and also served as the coordinator of Each One Reach One program that recruited minority males in the teaching profession. Before accepting her current position as professor and dean of the College of Health and Human Services at Southeast Missouri State University, Prater was the Chairperson of the School of Family and Consumer Sciences at Eastern Illinois University.  In addition to her outstanding career achievements, she was named the 2009 Executive of the Year by a chapter of the International Association of Administrative Professionals and was selected the 2006 Woman of Achievement in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, by the national Zonta organization for women.

Entertainment and Arts—Dr. Wayne E. Goins

Dr. Wayne E. Goins

Dr. Wayne E. Goins serves as Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Studies at Kansas State University. A noted performer, he has performed with legendary guitarist Kenny Burrell, alto saxophonist Bobby Watson, organist Jimmy McGriff and many others. Goins’ education career has included teaching positions in Boston, Chicago, and Atlanta. He is the founder of Little Apple Records, an independent jazz label that has already released five albums featuring his guitar performances. “Chronicles of Carmela,” a CD of ten original compositions was released in February 2011. Goins is an active researcher and lecturer in the field of music education with numerous articles and presentations delivered at conferences across the United States. Goins is the author of several books, including the award winning A Biography of Charlie Christian: Jazz Guitar’s King of Swing, published in 2005. His textbook, “The Wise Improvisor” was published in 2006. His book, “That’s All Right: The Jimmy Rogers Story” will soon be released by the University of Illinois Press.

Healthcare—Dr. Pamela Ross, M.D.

Dr. Pamela Ross

Dr. Pamela Ross, M.D., is Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville, and she has been a distinguished member of the UVA School of Medicine faculty for 15 years.  Both the institution and community have benefited from Dr. Ross’ expertise:  she is a distinguished diplomate of the Leadership in Academic Medicine Faculty Leadership Program; she serves as a member of the UVA Compassionate Care Council; and she is the chair of the Minority Recruitment Task Force.  Ross is a distinguished Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians and former chair of the Health Task Force of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a globally prominent service organization.  She was one of 150 physicians across the US invited by President Barack Obama to the White House Rose Garden when he presented “Doctors for Health Care Reform” to the nation.  Ross will soon be a graduate from the University of Arizona Center of Integrative Medicine as a Fellow in Integrative Medicine, a medical practice concept that honors the sacredness of the doctor–patient relationship and advocates mind-body-spirit healing and care. From this experience, she has become the Founder and CEO of Holistic Medical Consultants, specializing in holistic medical care.

Entrepreneurship—Gary Lampley

Gary Lampley

Gary Lampley serves as President of the Black Retail Action Group, an organization dedicated to supporting African Americans and other people of color in the retail industry. Prior to the work of BRAG, African Americans were almost non-existent in management and owner positions in retail, despite the fact that the African American market is expected to represent $1 trillion in retail spending in 2012. Lampley is best known for his leadership of BRAG’s internship program, an 11-week executive level experience of seminars, workshops, classes, and real world experience in some of the country’s leading retailers. Graduates of the program move into management positions in existing companies and many begin their own retail businesses. Under Lampley’s guidance, BRAG has expanded into college chapters across the country and now offers college scholarships to students seeking to pursue careers in the retail industry. In 2006, Lampley was selected as a Smithsonian Graduate Fellow at the National Museum of American History, and in 2011, he was a leader in the National Endowment for Humanities Summer Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshop. He has appeared on CNN and BET News as well as in numerous trade and popular publications.

Lifetime Achievement Award—Dr. Horace Traylor

Dr. Horace Traylor

Dr. Horace Traylor has dedicated his life to opening doors for others to access education and embrace the opportunities that follow.

He first made history in 1953, when he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Zion College and became the first African American to earn a bachelor’s degree in Chattanooga.

Traylor served as President of Zion College from 1959 until 1964, at which time the institution was reorganized and renamed Chattanooga City College, where he continued as President until 1969.

It was during this time that he made history again by becoming the first African American to graduate from the University of Chattanooga in 1965 with a master of education degree.

When conversations began to surface about merging the University of Chattanooga with the University of Tennessee system, Traylor saw an opportunity to truly transform access to higher education in this community. He worked to include Chattanooga City College in the merger, and in 1969, the three entities came together to form The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga campus. Once again, we see his fingerprints on a historic milestone for this campus.

Traylor later joined the administration at Miami-Dade Community College, where he retired as President of the Miami Dade Community College Foundation and District Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Miami Dade Community College.

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