The President’s Award program recognizes outstanding contributions of staff and faculty in the around the University of Tennessee System’s values. Honorees are selected each year from a system-wide pool of candidates nominated by system, campus and institute leaders.

There are seven statewide award winners, one from each category.  Awards are presented to individuals who exhibit the behaviors associated with each goal:

Bold and Impactful

Award honors an individual that serves the state by tackling grand challenges.  Behaviors include thinking big, making a difference, and serving with purpose.

Embrace Diversity

Award honors an individual that respects our individual and organizational uniqueness that make us stronger. Behaviors include listening with empathy, expecting civility and collegiality, and modeling inclusive behaviors.

Award honors an individual that empowers courageous leadership.  Behaviors include finding the positive, inspiring others, and leading by example.

Nimble and Innovative

Award honors an individual that inspires creative and transformational action.  Behaviors include trying new things and keeping what works, embracing change, and removing barriers.

Excel in All We Do

Award honors an individual that commits to continuous improvement and outstanding performance.  Behaviors include setting high standards, pursuing learning and growth, and recognizing and celebrating quality.

United and Connected

Award honors an individual that collaborates internally and externally for greater collective impact.  Behaviors include being a team player, seeing yourself as part of the larger purpose, and sharing experience and knowledge.

Transparent and Trusted

Award honors an individual that fosters integrity through openness, accountability, and stewardship. Behaviors include believing in the good intentions of others, being honest, and proactively communicating.


Many excellent recognition programs exist at each UT campus and institute. The President’s Awards program is designed to enhance those efforts on a system-wide platform by honoring our best from across the state.

Simply put, the program is the highest honor a UT employee can receive and is intended to spotlight success and inspire excellence.

Honorees are selected each year from a system-wide pool of candidates nominated by campus and institute leaders. Commemorative and monetary awards are presented during an annual ceremony, and faculty and staff winners will help select honorees in future years.


About the President’s Award

President's medallion

The President’s Award was inspired by the University of Tennessee President’s Medallion.

The medallion bears the President’s Seal and is worn by the president for commencement ceremonies. It was originally designed by UT architect Malcolm Rice for the inauguration of Dr. Andy Holt in 1960. The three words in the center signify the qualities of a UT president—vision, character and energy. The silver overlay depicts a Gordian knot being cut by a sword, a leaping flame signifying the torch of knowledge and a quill representing the power of the written word.