Has a UTC employee gone the extra mile to help you?

You can show your appreciation by nominating that person for the Blue Ribbon Award. A committee appointed by the chancellor will select monthly an award winner who exhibits outstanding service to others. Nominations should be specific in identifying incidents or situations that show the nominee has served his/her customers with special distinction.

If you have a nominee to be considered at an upcoming meeting, please e-mail your nomination to Melanie Sadler (Melanie-Sadler@utc.edu), Human Resources Administrative Assistant, or mail to Dept. 3603.

All non-faculty staff (full or part-time) with at least one year’s regular service are eligible for the award. Any UTC faculty, staff, student, alumnus, or member of the community are invited to submit nominations.

Blue Ribbon Winners, 2016


Faith Garner, Administrative Specialist, Safety and Risk Management, is a true team player. She not only handles her job duties with grace and a smile, but is there for her colleagues as well. She’s also commended for her take-charge attitude as she manages new, large projects. And all of this while she pursues her Bachelor’s.

“Faith is reliable, dedicated, and always upbeat. Her patience is unparalleled,” explained Kellie Karaky, Administrative Assistant, Department of Public Safety.

Karaky continued, “Anyone who has worked with her can see Faith’s team player mind-set and enthusiastic embrace of change.”


Chris Howard, Associate Director, Network Engineering, Information Technology, was a key asset when it came time for the library’s relocation to the new building. He was constantly available for support (even responding to emails while on his honeymoon) and is still a vital partner to the new library as they’ve settled in.

“Christopher has been of significant help and frankly, the move to the new library would not have gone smoothly without his assistance,” said Theresa Liedtka, Dean, Library.

Liedtka continued, “His round the-clock availability is indicative of a tremendous work ethic and care for his university colleagues.”


Ethan Hereth, Research Associate, SimCenter, has taken on an increasingly demanding workload with additional responsibilities with the high-performance computing clusters at the SimCenter. He’s faced these new jobs with grace as he solved difficult hardware/software challenges and worked as an effective communicator in times of need.

“In my opinion, Ethan is fully deserving of a Blue Ribbon Award for special, exemplary performance going the extra mile as interim computer systems administrator for the SimCenter, in addition to his normal duties as research associate” explained Dr. Reinhold Mann, Interim Director, SimCenter.

Mann continued, “Thanks to Ethan’s extraordinarily effective work and dedication to the SimCenter program and to UTC, our computer systems are running in a stable and highly productive manner.”


Rebekah Caldwell, Accounting Specialist II, Accounting Services, goes out of her way to help everyone around her, and her efforts have not gone unnoticed. Even her patience and kindness while helping others is unrivaled.

“Even through Rebekah’s busiest days, when I call, she still always gives me all the time that I need to help answer my questions,” said Joanna Stephanos, Administrative Specialist, Chancellor’s Office.

“I cannot thank Rebekah enough for all her help, and demonstrating the best and the most sincere customer service,” Stephanos added.


Dr. Jay Blackman, Associate Athletics Director for Communications and Marketing, is a rockstar when it comes to balancing busy sports seasons. This past Spring as men’s and women’s basketball, indoor track, and wrestling were still going strong, a new season of softball, tennis, golf, and outdoor track were just getting started, Jay ensured every game and event was covered. If there were overlaps in schedules, he had someone trained and ready to cover the next event.

“Since his arrival at UTC in 2008, Jay has overhauled the Athletics Communications office in both organization and efficiency. He works countless hours to ensure all home events are professionally covered and that the information makes its way to media, fans, and staff in a timely manner,” said Anne Wehunt, Assistant Sports Information Director.

Wehunt continued, “What would be a day off for most is just another workday for Jay. Besides covering events, Jay’s duties include the day-to-day operations and budget needs of the Athletics Communications office. He serves on multiple committees for the university and athletics department and devotes time to his family.”


Madison Dell, Research Associate, Academic Affairs began her career at UTC as a student assistant. Her skills and dedication caught the attention of those around her and she was quickly promoted to administrative support assistant, then research specialist in a matter of a few years. Her hard work is still impressing others as she goes out of her way to help those around her.

Cindy Williams, Administrative Specialist II, said, “Madison is very observant and tries to make sure University business is done in a professional and timely manner.”

“She is very professional, kind, and definitely a great model for all admins. She is such a positive influence for UTC,” Williams added.


Bengt Carlson, Experiential Learning Coordinator, Walker Center for Teaching and Learning, was more than just a respectful host when two visiting faculty from Moi University in Kenya, Africa spent the spring semester on Campus with the Walker Center.

Mary Marr, Senior Instructional Developer, noticed just how hard Carlson worked to make sure the visiting faculty felt at home during their time here.

“[He] took the time to really get to know these gentlemen, inviting them on campus walking tours, visiting with them at downtown points of interest, and even inviting them to a friend’s cookout!” Marr said, “His ability to make them feel more welcome and more a part of our campus surely made their semester away from home more enjoyable and special.


Jewell Chason, Administrative Specialist, Department of Finance and Economics, is always willing to go above and beyond to help those around her. Irina Khmelko, UC Foundation Assistant Professor, is especially grateful for help over the past six years.

Over the years Chason has provided technical assistance in the classroom, helped with moves, and even assisted one time when birds were trying to nest in a classroom. “Her professionalism and excellent attitude have not only been very helpful in my work, but she has been a pleasure to work with,” said Khmelko.

“I believe staff members like her make our UTC into a ‘Students First’ University where faculty and staff work together to give the most to our students” Khmelko added.


Susan Cardwell, Assistant to the Dean, College of Engineering and Computer Science, is proactive, a team leader, and a prime example of servant leadership.

“In my time at UTC, Cardwell has been, by far, one of the kindest and most helpful people I’ve had the pleasure of working with,” explained John Freeze, Director, Continuing Education.

In many instances she’s rushed to the aid of Freeze and his Continuing Education colleagues when they host events in the EMCS.

“Because of her willingness to help (at a moment’s notice), her ability to solve problems effectively, her upbeat attitude, and her commitment to serving ALL of UTC’s students, she is a true asset to UTC” Freeze added.


Michelle Prince, Director, Auxiliary Services, recently took time out of her day to help a new student on Campus.

When Prince received a call from a particularly upset parent whose daughter was late to, and locked out of class because she was unable to find parking, Prince reached out to the student herself. After speaking with the student on the phone, she left her desk and went to find the emotional student on Campus. She showed the student around the University, pointing out areas where she could park, and eased some of the student’s anxieties about being new to UTC, Chattanooga, and a metropolitan area in general.

Tyler Forrest, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Budget and Financial Services, who saw the incident take place, said, “Parking is often a hot button issue on Campus. We frequently only hear negative things, but I thought this was an example in which Prince went above and beyond to serve our most important constituent group, the students. I witness her doing this all of the time, but this instance in particular stood out to me.”


Lindsay Hyden, Associate Director of Campus Recreation, and Allison Hughes, Coordinator of Outdoor Recreation, Campus Recreation, went above and beyond their job responsibilities to make the Chattanooga Heroes Run event happen with numerous hours of planning and preparation.

The University, in partnership with Erlanger Trauma Center, the City of Chattanooga, and Rock Creek, held the event to honor the Fallen Five and raise money for their families.

“This was a great partnership and collaboration with the community of Chattanooga to contribute to a great cause. Allisona and Lindsey donated their time, space, and resources to make this event happen. Their work and effort supports the University’s mission to inspire positive change and enrich our community,” said Caesar Wood, Executive Director of Campus Recreation and University Center.

The race raised $15,000 for the families who were affected by the tragedy on July 16, 2015, which would not have been possible without Lindsay and Allison’s contributions.


As a Student Success Specialist for Student Support Services, Christopher Stokes provides activities and services which contribute to the academic success of our students, but he tirelessly provides additional support beyond his assigned duties, always dedicated to putting students first.

Chris does whatever he can to make the UTC experience a positive one and goes out of his way to make sure students get the assistance they need. He has been there for them when they have had both academic and personal problems, even if it meant missing his lunch or working after hours and weekends. He celebrates their successes by attending every commencement ceremony.

He promotes the success of the students in the Black Males on Campus initiative by building partnerships with community leaders. This student group went from having the lowest retention and graduation rates to achieving the highest retention and graduation rates of any Student Support Services group.

Chris uses his wide knowledge of the community to identify resources to help students achieve their goals. He coached one pre-med student for three years to ensure his medical school application was exceptional. Chris also helped the student arrange a volunteer shadowing experience by connecting him with his own physician. That student graduated in May 2016 and was accepted into five medical schools.

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