KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture recognized some of its top faculty, staff, researchers, and Extension experts at UTIA’s annual awards and promotions luncheon on the UTIA campus in Knoxville on August 15, 2023. Many of the awards are gifts made possible by faculty, alumni, and friends of the Institute.

UT Institute of Agriculture Senior Vice Chancellor and Senior Vice President Keith Carver hosted the award winners and celebrated their work. “I’m excited to celebrate the amazing work of our UTIA faculty and staff,” says Carver. “These awards are well-deserved and represent our employees’ steadfast dedication to their work, the Institute, and the people of Tennessee. The impact of their accomplishments and passion will be felt for generations to come.”

James Newburn, interim director of the UT Gardens and research associate in the Department of Plant Sciences, is the recipient of the Professional/Academic Award for Outstanding Service. Provided by the Institute of Agriculture administration, this award is given to a recipient among the professional and other academic employees who have contributed most to the attainment of the objectives of the Institute of Agriculture.

“It is an honor to receive this award and be recognized for the work that is being done at the UT Gardens,” says Newburn. “The Gardens and I are passionate about the Gardens and strive to make it a valuable facility for research, teaching, and outreach serving the University and the community at large.”

Newburn has been with UTIA for 30 years, serving as the UT Gardens interim director for three and a half years. During his time with the UT Gardens, he has been able to witness the Gardens grow physically to the current size and their impact on the University, students, and the community at large. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Gardens this year was a proud milestone for Newburn and his team.

Newburn has a master’s degree in plant sciences from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Among his many accomplishments, he previously received the 2016 Mildred Pendergrass Award for Outstanding Service and the 2013 College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Outstanding Staff Member Award.

Through its land-grant mission of research, teaching, and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions.