The College of Communication and Information held its eighth annual Experience Diversity Banquet February 19, 2016, at Bearden Banquet Hall.
UT alumnus Lelan Statom, the 2016 College of Communication and Information Diversity Award recipient, gave the keynote speech. He is a meteorologist for NewsChannel 5 in Nashville and co-host of Talk of the Town, the station’s top-rated talk show.
Statom earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from UT in 1986 and has a certificate of broadcast meteorology from Mississippi State University.
He is the treasurer and past president of the Nashville Association of Black Journalists and a member of 100 Black Men of Middle Tennessee.
Statom volunteers with the Tennessee and Davidson County 4-H and serves on several boards. He is a charter member of the UT Knoxville Alumni Board of Directors and an emeritus member of the CCI Board of Visitors.
The CCI Diversity Student Leaders Society (DSLS) hosts the banquet as its major fundraiser. The students organize the event and the cultural performances, including dance and music, representing a broad spectrum of cultures and nationalities. The funds raised by the event are used to support a variety of educational opportunities such as scholarships and trips to major cities to meet with industry leaders and potential employers and to network with CCI alumni.
“This event allows us to bring together students, faculty, and community members from all cultural backgrounds in a celebratory atmosphere,” said Alice Wirth, director of DSLS and a lecturer in CCI’s School of Communication Studies. “DSLS students gain confidence and valuable experience by working on the event. Working together toward a common goal inspires them to embrace and value the differences in others while reinforcing the value of their own uniqueness.”