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Middlebrook Inspires 2017 Experience Diversity Gathering

Dean Wirth, Rev. Middlebrook, Alice Wirth

The ninth annual CCI Experience Diversity Banquet on Friday, Feb. 17 was an inspiring and timely celebration of the accomplishments of Reverend Doctor Harold Middlebrook. Middlebrook was presented with the 2017 CCI Diversity Award recognizing his more than fifty years of civil rights leadership and community involvement.

As a part of his acceptance speech, Middlebrook engaged the audience with his wit and clear-sighted approach to rational discussion with those having opposing views. He urged the students at the banquet to be involved in the political process and to vote! A WATE-TV story summarizing Middlebrook’s keynote can be seen at

Past recipients of the CCI Diversity Award, Phyllis Nichols (2010), CEO of the Knoxville Area Urban League, and Dr. Tom Kim (2015), an internal medicine and hematology-oncology physician who began the Free Medical Clinic of America in Knoxville, looked on as Middlebrook received his award.

The banquet program was organized by the CCI Diversity Student Leaders Society and included multicultural music, dance and performances. Each performance contributed to the banquet theme, “Reach Out and Touch: Make This World a Better Place.”

Live and silent auctions were used to help raise funds in addition to the table sponsors’ support of the event. A total of $4,500 was raised to help fund DSLS field trips and scholarships. Led by DSLS Director Alice Wirth, the students gained valuable experience planning and organizing the evening’s event.

To learn more about CCI’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and the activities of CCI’s Diversity Student Leaders Society (DSLS), see