Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Celebrating Service and Excellence at UT: Awards and Recognition Programs

UT is made up of a diverse body of faculty and staff. Their individual efforts and talents keep the university going, and when they give their best, they make the university excellent. While the day-to-day business of educating students and supporting that effort fills our days, it is important to stop and smell the roses. Celebrating employees and their individual successes reminds everyone how each employee contributes to the ultimate success of the university as a whole.

Service Awards

Service awards are designed to recognize faculty and staff for their dedicated service to the university. Employees reaching five years of service will receive a certificate in a Lucite frame and a UT seal lapel pin. Awards are provided in five-year increments beginning with the tenth year of regular service. The service award provider, OC Tanner, will contact award recipients around the time of the service anniversary date so they can select an award.

The Service Awards Recognition Luncheon recognizes UT employees whose total service adds up to twenty-five years or more with milestones at five-year increments. Employees with fifty years of service receive the Joe Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award with a gift of engraved marble bookends. The luncheon provides an opportunity for university administrators to express their appreciation for the employees’ service. The luncheons are held twice a year, in the spring and fall. The president of the university and the recipients’ chancellors or vice presidents attend this luncheon to recognize these employees.

We in Human Resources thank all of our employees for their service to the university!

Positive Recognition Awards

The Positive Recognition Committee began as an ad hoc committee in April 1993. In 1998, the committee was established as one of the university’s administrative committees, with a mission to support and promote employee recognition efforts.

The committee meets at least twice each year to select winners from a nomination round, maintain current recognition programs, and develop new initiatives. The awards currently overseen by this committee include Send Roses, Volunteer Spirit, and Team Excellence. The committee also selects the recipient of the Extraordinary Customer Service award presented at the Chancellor’s Honors Banquet.

Send Roses

Send Roses Award recipients are employees who demonstrate outstanding courtesy and customer service. Each quarter, a new honoree is named. That person receives a framed certificate, a dozen roses, a dry-erase replica of the Rock, and a reserved parking spot on campus for a month.

All regular full- and part-time UT staff and faculty are eligible. The nominee may be exempt or nonexempt. Any faculty, staff, student, or friend of the university may submit nominations.

Awards article 1


Photo on left: Dave Hart, Kim Milligan and Butch Jones



Awards article 4



Photo on right: Melanie Wilson, Sandy Klavon and Carol Collins.



Awards article 3


Photo on Right: Julie Roe, Robin McNeil, Lori Epperson and Tee Ezell.




Volunteer Spirit

The Volunteer Spirit Award recognizes individuals or groups who voluntarily perform beyond the normal job expectations. They are motivated simply by the accomplishment of the task. Consideration is given to those whose contributions directly benefit the university community. One award is given each year.

All regular full- and part-time UT staff and faculty are eligible. The nominee may be exempt or nonexempt. Any faculty or staff member, student, or friend of the university may submit nominations.

Recipients have their photo made with Smokey. They also receive a bouquet of balloons and a cash award of $150 at a reception in their honor.

Team Excellence

The Team Excellence Award recognizes outstanding teamwork within a group of employees. The award promotes the spirit of teamwork within departments and between units. One award is given each year. A breakfast is held in honor of the winning team and certificates are given to each team member.

Groups of regular full- and part-time UT staff and faculty are eligible. Groups are defined as a unit within one department, several units within a division, or two or more departments that have worked together to achieve a goal.

Recipients deliver exceptional customer service, cost and time savings, and creative ideas. They maintain high safety records, combine talents of traditionally separate units, and actively demonstrate a willingness to encourage teamwork in the workplace.

Extraordinary Customer Service

The Citation for Extraordinary Customer Service recognizes employees who bring honor to the university and who excel in their jobs and their working relationships. One award and cash gift is given each year during the Chancellor’s Honors Banquet.

All regular full- and part-time UT staff members are eligible for the citation. The nominee may be exempt or nonexempt and must have at least one year of service at the time of nomination. Any faculty or staff member, student, or friend of the university may submit nominations. The most recent recipient may not be considered again for the award for one year.

Consideration is given to the following: job performance, attitude, initiative, relationships with associates and other customers, and the ability to relate to the university’s mission.

More information about the Positive Recognition Committee and the Service Awards Program is available online.

For questions about submission of nominations, contact Jonathan Ramsey at 865-974-8299 or

Please take time to review these awards and nominate an employee or group of employees who go above and beyond to make UT that much better. Your nomination can lead to a very special day for that employee. Let’s take time to stop and recognize the work of these extraordinary people.