University of Tennessee, Knoxville Alumni Association Selects Three Alums for Their Impacts and Volunteer Spirit
Three alumni from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Education Health and Human Sciences (CEHHS) were recently honored for their substantial contributions in the categories of promise, professional achievement, service, and distinction. The awards were presented by the UT Alumni Association on September 16th at a dinner reception and ceremony at the Student Union on the UT campus.
“We’re proud to present these awards,” said Gary Beard, president of the Alumni Board of Directors. “These graduates have gone on to light the way showing strength and leadership during this extraordinary time. They have stepped forward to serve their alma mater and their greater community. Let us acknowledge how true it is that it takes a volunteer to light the way for future generations.”
The three CEHHS alumni honored include:
Tamika Catchings (’00,’05), 2022 Distinguished Alumnus Award Winner
It’s no surprise that Tamika Catchings is the recipient of the highest honor, Distinguished Alumna. The list of accolades goes on and on for this Lady Vol for Life. She has been SEC Freshman of the Year, an NCAA National Champion, a four-time Olympic gold medalist, and one of the most influential players in the
26-year history of the Women’s National Basketball Association. While at UT, Catchings also excelled in the classroom, graduating with bachelor’s and master’s degrees from CEHHS in 2000 and 2005 respectively.
After spending most of her life on and around the basketball court, Catchings is now focusing on philanthropy, her family, community, and other passions. Since 2004, Catchings and her sister’s nonprofit, Catch the Stars Foundation, has helped at-risk youth in inner-city Indianapolis participate in reinforcing academic, athletic, and other positive development programs. Her foundation has given more than $150,000 in college scholarships to assist students with their higher education goals.
Find out more about Tamkia’s award here.
Gary L. Blauser (’67), 2022 Alumni Service Award Winner
Gary Blauser is no stranger when it comes to service to the University. He graduated from CEHHS with a degree in education and a major in social studies. Gary briefly taught social studies at high schools in Knox County and Columbus, Ohio, before transitioning into administrative roles within companies that promote education. He retired as a senior administrator for a company that leads in hands-on learning. At ETA hand2mind, Gary worked as the National Sales Manager, then Senior Vice President of Sales.
Gary serves on the Dean’s Board of Advisors for CEHHS, for which he and his wife also fund an endowed scholarship. In addition, he was also chair of the Dean’s Board of Advisors. Additionally, he served on the UTK Alumni Board of Directors.
Find out more about Gary’s award here.
Brianna Mason Broady (’17, ‘18), Alumni Promise Award
Brianna Mason Broady is truly making a difference. As a student at UT, she started Advocates for Autism as a campus organization. In 2017, Brianna received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and one year later, a master’s in elementary education. She was the recipient of two distinguished scholarships: a Charles Lattimore Graduate Scholarship and a membership in the Urban Multicultural Education Cohort. After teaching first grade for one year, she took a detour in 2019 after being crowned Miss Tennessee. Brianna was the first black woman to represent the state at Miss America in its 90-plus year history.
As Miss Tennessee, Brianna traveled over 30,000 miles around the state as the organization’s representative. During that time she worked with the Tennessee Department of Education as the Spokesperson for Reading Literacy and the Whole Child Initiative. She was also the State Ambassador for our five Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, along with other roles. With her platform on autism awareness, she reached over 30,000 people on her social media platforms and more national audiences through several networks, including CNN, BET, and NBC.
Find out more about Brianna’s award here.
Through its eight departments and 12 centers, the UT Knoxville College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences enhances the quality of life for all through research, outreach, and practice. Find out more at cehhs.utk.edu