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Alumni News: Torchbearers, Herbert, John, Loebner, McConkey, Tramel

Alumni News Nov/Dec 2016On the weekend of November 12, 95 recipients of the Torchbearer award gathered to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the award, the highest student honor bestowed by the university. Cierra Burdick (BA/CS ’15) was a featured speaker at the event. Other CCI Torchbearers in attendance (of whom we are aware) included: Dwayne Summar (BS/JEM ’61), Wallene Leek (BS/JEM ’64), Ann Holt Blackburn (BS/JEM ’73), and  Kristen Barnett (BS/JEM ’14).

James L. Herbert, PhD (BS/Animal Science & JEM ’62), the CEO and founder of Neogen Corporation in Lansing Michigan, received an honorary doctorate from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville at UT’s fall commencement ceremony on Dec. 10, 2016. Herbert is the 14th individual to receive an honorary degree from UT Knoxville and the second CCI alumnus to be so honored.

Sharon Price John (BS/AD ’86 and CCI Board of Visitors member), president and CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop, will be one of the featured bosses in the eighth season premiere of “Undercover Boss,” which will be aired on the CBS television network on Wednesday, Dec. 21 from 8:00 – 10:00 p.m. (see

Josh Loebner (MS/C&I ’99; BS/Forestry ‘96), director of strategy for Designsensory in Knoxville, has been appointed: to the Knoxville Mayor’s Council on Disability Issues and as an advisor to the Global Alliance for Disability in Media & Entertainment. He has been invited to the White House to speak on advertising and disability on December 12.

Cindy McConkey (BS/JEM ‘80), was one of five honorees at the American Cancer Society Hope Gala on November 11. The event is a major annual fundraiser for the organization.

Tracy McBroom Tramel (BS/JEM ’97; MS/C&I ’99), was highlighted as a December 2016 graduate from UT’s nurse practitioner master’s program.  See her story at