In each issue of the Circle Park News, we feature one or more members of the CCI Board of Visitors through a Q&A session. Paula Casey is one of the BOV members featured in this issue.
Paula earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from CCI in 1975. She currently is a professional speaker, writer, editorial coordinator and producer. Paula’s special interests and research efforts include the 19th Amendment and voting rights. She helped edit and contributed to the National Women’s History Museum’s cyber exhibit on women in journalism. Paula is a 32-year member of the National Federation of Press Women and is active in her community in Memphis, Tenn. Paula has been a member of the CCI Board of Visitors since 2003.
CCI – How and when did you first get involved (on a volunteer basis) with CCI?
Paula – When I graduated from the College of Communications in 1975, I came back as often as I could to alumni functions. I was very pleased when Dean Dwight Teeter appointed me to the BOV in 2003.
CCI – In your view, what is the most important or impactful role you’ve played as a volunteer?
Paula – I’ve attended functions to promote the college and helped recruit students from the Memphis area.
CCI – Why have you chosen to support the college (financially and/or with your time)? Why do you see this as important?
Paula – I am extremely proud of the education I received at the University of Tennessee. It provided me with the skills and contacts I needed in my profession.
CCI – What do you hope to accomplish during your term with the BOV?
Paula – Input for curriculum, networking with faculty and staff to help students, and letting students know how their education can be useful. I want them to appreciate what the University of Tennessee has to offer.
CCI – Is there anything exciting or interesting going on “behind the scenes” in CCI that the average alum might not be aware of?
Paula – We have a very hard-working and dedicated faculty and staff. I encourage all alums to read the materials that are sent out and keep informed about what the College is doing. We are making a difference.
CCI – If someone is considering volunteerism as a way to “give back” to the University, what advice would you have for them? Why should they do it?
Paula – Do it. You can make a difference in someone’s life, and you get a great feeling from helping others.
CCI – What from your UT and CCI experience has “stuck with you” during life since graduating?
Paula – I was managing editor of the UT Daily Beacon in 1974 when Richard Nixon resigned the presidency. It was an exciting time to be in the field of journalism. As I got older, I appreciated the opportunity I had to witness history.
CCI – What is your favorite memory from your time at UT?
Paula – When Pat Head (Summitt) was hired in 1974, I attended the UT Lady Vols basketball games in Alumni Gym when nobody cared about women’s basketball. (I remind Pat about that whenever I see her!) I remember when Andy Holt Avenue was open to traffic. I remember when we had concerts by Bette Midler, Elton John, James Taylor, and Carole King on campus in the early ‘70s. They became legends in the entertainment business. I used to walk across campus on Friday afternoons after class, sometimes going into the bookstore at the University Center, and was so happy that I was at UT.
CCI – Anything else you’d like to share?
Paula – I was the first person to graduate with a major in journalism and a minor in speech (before speech communications left Liberal Arts and was added to the College of Communications). I am eternally grateful for the education I received, the friendships I still enjoy today, and the leadership shown by Dr. Kelly Leiter. He was my adviser as well as my friend and helped prepare me for my career. His journalism classes were like no other!!