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October 2016: CCI Profiles

Dargan SouthardAlumni Profile: Dargan Southard (BS/JEM ’15), a sportswriter for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, posted a story in October 2016 that went viral. The story focused on an exceptional act of selflessness that took place during a cross-country race.  When Southard posted the story in the paper and on social media, the story took on a life of its own.
Evan Hansen was running in the race when he noticed Adam Todd had been distracted by a passing ambulance and began to veer off course. Todd is epileptic and autistic. Hansen rerouted Todd and held his hand for the final mile and a half of the race, sacrificing his race time to help a stranger.
The story gained national attention when ESPN’s SportsCenter covered the story and ABC’s World News selected Evan Hansen and Adam Todd as their Persons of the Week. The story was carried by several national programs and in papers across the country. The two families involved have connected as a result of their sons’ shared experience of their sons.
Southard was a 2015 intern for the Colorado Rockies and previously reported for local papers in Knoxville and Maryville, Tennessee.
Benny SmithStaff Profile: Benny Smith, WUTK 90.3 The Rock general manager, was recently profiled in a feature story by Knoxville News Sentinel,, and WUTK was ranked sixth among  US College Campus Radio Stations by (see
Smith has been with WUTK for 12 years and has extensive prior experience working in various positions at other radio stations. In his current role, he oversees about 200 students. As quoted in the KNS article, “I give them the benefit of my experience,” Smith said. “I explain the reality of radio. I try to reinforce whatever decision they make about their careers, and, though it’s ultimately their decision as to what direction they want to go, I’m here to support them.”
In addition to the day-to-day operation of the station, Smith oversees the fundraising efforts of the station. Because the station does not receive funding from the university, it must raise its operating funds through listener donations, events and campaign drives. To see upcoming fundraising events or to make a contribution, see
Student Profiles: Rocky Top Royalty Court 2016 for Homecoming included three CCI students among the ten: Bridgett Givand, public relations senior; Kaylyn Harris, advertising senior, and Maggie Morgan, communication studies junior. This marked the first ever Rocky Top Royalty competition to exemplify the Volunteer Spirit through Court members’ scholastic and extracurricular achievement at UT.  Candidates were interviewed by a panel of judges. They had to meet attendance requirements at designated Homecoming events and campaign throughout the week. The student body voted on the candidates and their student votes and interview scores were averaged together to determine the winners.
The Rocky Top Royalty Court was introduced on the field during half-time of the Homecoming game against Tennessee Tech. While none of the CCI students were the ultimate winners, they received much deserved recognition for their academic and volunteer work on campus.
Harris is from Bartlett, Tennessee. Givand is from Richland, Ohio and Morgan is from Knoxville.
Bridgette Givand
Kaylyn Harris Maggie Morgan