Campus News

2017 WestStar Leadership Program class graduates June 20 in Jackson

06-23-2017


Contact 1: Bud Grimes




MARTIN, Tenn. — Members of the 2017 WestStar Leadership Class graduated Tuesday, June 20, during an event held at the DoubleTree Hotel in Jackson. A 5:30 p.m. reception was followed by dinner and the graduation ceremony. The University of Tennessee at Martin sponsors the WestStar Leadership Program.

This marked the program’s 28th class and brings the total to 799 graduates since WestStar was established in 1990. The 2017 class included 30 participants who were competitively selected to learn new leadership skills and develop strategies for assisting communities in solving problems and maximizing potential.

Each WestStar class is chosen annually by the program’s board of trustees. Selection is based on leadership achievements and potential to contribute to West Tennessee’s development. Participants are selected from all occupations and levels of community and regional involvement.

Dr. Charley Deal, associate vice chancellor for alumni relations and WestStar executive director, welcomed approximately 150 class members, alumni and guests. He thanked the program’s corporate sponsors, offered a “year in review” of WestStar activities beyond the program sessions and joined the program’s board of trustees to present graduation plaques.

Among those attending the event was UT Martin Chancellor Keith Carver, a 2009 WestStar graduate who participated in his first WestStar graduation as chancellor. “Tonight is really more than just an event,” he told the audience. “It truly is a celebration. … It’s a celebration of good leadership and best practices and what we can learn from each other. It’s a celebration of our region, of West Tennessee.”

Elected officials attending the graduation included city and county mayors and members of the Tennessee General Assembly. Tennessee lawmakers present for the graduation were Sen. Delores Gresham (R-Somerville), Sen. John Stevens (R-Huntingdon), Sen. Mark Norris (R-Collierville) and Rep. Jimmy Eldridge (R-Jackson).

Deal also announced several WestStar awards, including the program’s two major recognitions:

•C.P. Boyd Leadership Award – Jim Coy Houston, of Dyersburg, a Farm Bureau Insurance agent. The award, named for the late Haywood County community leader and educator C.P. Boyd, is the person selected by the class who best reflects compassion and leadership for West Tennessee.

•Jimmy Daniel Make-A-Difference WestStar Leadership Alumni Award – Sen. Mark Norris, a 1999 WestStar graduate. The award is named for the late Jimmy Daniel, 1990 WestStar graduate, founding trustee member and a field representative during the Gov. Don Sundquist administration. Selection criteria include a WestStar graduate who has had a positive impact in the recipient’s city or county during the past five years and a strong record of leadership in West Tennessee.

Following recognition of the graduates, Deal closed the event by reminding the class of a quote by President John Quincy Adams: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” Applications for the 2018 WestStar class are being accepted, and members of the new class will be selected this fall.

The 2017 WestStar graduating class members and their hometowns are: Bradley Arnold, Milan; Dr. Larry Bailey, Jackson; Charley Brown, McKenzie; Charlene Burpo, Kenton; Ray Deming Jr., Henderson; Dr. Brian Donavant, Martin; Kim Douglass, Lexington; Randi French, Paris; Rob Goad, Martin; Rachel Grear, Ripley; Jim Coy Houston, Dyersburg; Patricia Jones, Finger; Mayor Gwendolyn Kilpatrick, Mason; Nicole Kincade, Union City; Dr. Heather Martin, Humboldt; Dr. Kimberly Martin, Dyersburg; Michael Naifeh, Covington; Nick Nichols, Brownsville; Vanessa Patrick, Milan; Russ Phillips, Memphis; Wes Rodgers, Halls; Elizabeth Russell Owen, McKenzie; Dr. Bobby Smith, Jackson; Sandy Tarkington, Dyersburg; Donna Vick, Camden; Blake Walley, Somerville; Christine Warrington, Humboldt; Libby Wickersham, Rutherford; Dr. Todd Winters, Martin; and Vanessa Wright-Hayes, Somerville.

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MARTIN, Tenn., June 23, 2017 – 2017 WESTSTAR CLASS GRADUATES – Members of the 2017 WestStar Leadership Class graduated Tuesday, June 20, at the DoubleTree Hotel in Jackson. A 5:30 p.m. reception was followed by dinner and the graduation ceremony. The University of Tennessee at Martin sponsors the WestStar Leadership Program. Members of the 2017 WestStar graduating class are (seated, l to r) Nicole Kincade, Union City; Charleen Burpo, Kenton; Vanessa Wright-Hayes, Somerville; Christine Warrington, Humboldt; Patricia Jones, Finger; Gwendolyn Kilpatrick, Mason; Libby Wickersham, Rutherford; Dr. Heather Martin, Humboldt; Elizabeth Russell Owen, McKenzie; Rachel Grear, Ripley; Vanessa Patrick, Milan; (standing, second row, l to r) Bradley Arnold, Milan; Wes Rodgers, Halls; Charley Brown, McKenzie; Blake Walley, Somerville; Nick Nichols, Brownsville; Donna Vick, Camden; Jim Coy Houston, Dyersburg; Ray Deming, Henderson; Dr. Larry Bailey, Jackson; Randi French, Paris; Sandy Tarkington, Dyersburg; Dr. Bobby Smith, Jackson; Dr. Todd Winters, Martin; Kimberly Douglass, Lexington; Dr. Kimberly Martin, Dyersburg; Michael Naifeh, Covington; Rob Goad, Martin; (back row, l to r) Russ Phillips, Memphis; Dr. Brian Donavant, Martin.




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