Featured photo: From left, Lester Laminack, Kelly Starling Lyons, Carol Hampton Rasco, George Ella Lyon and Ronnie Erwin review books during the children’s literature conference.
UT Southern hosted a conference on Children’s Literacy: Igniting the Love for Literacy with more than 150 attendees in February. The conference gathered authors of children’s books and celebrated classroom teachers, literacy and learning.
Three nationally known children’s authors—Lester Laminack, George Ella Lyon and Kelly Starling Lyons— gave presentations. Noted children’s literacy advocate Carol Hampton Rasco, the former president and CEO of Reading is Fundamental, was the keynote speaker.
Beech Named Vice Chancellor of Advancement
Evan Beech has been named vice chancellor of advancement for the UT Foundation and UT Southern. Beech has served as the interim vice chancellor since January 2022 and previously served in an advisory role as the campus joined the UT System on July 1, 2021.
“Evan has been successful in his roles at UT Southern and the UT Institute of Agriculture, displaying the dedication, leadership and passion that are essential as we continue advancing the mission of UTS. I am thrilled to welcome Evan in this permanent role,” said UT Foundation President Kerry Witcher.
Originally from Pulaski, Beech received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from UT Knoxville.
He worked at UT Institute of Agriculture beginning in 2016 and recently served as the director of advancement. Evan is a class of 2022 UT Executive Leadership Institute participant and was a 2020 UTFI Board of Directors Award recipient.
Public Health Program Seeks to Make a Difference
Graduating its second cohort this spring, the UT Southern public health education program prepares students to serve the whole person and to understand how life can affect people and a community.
Karen Ferguson, program founder and coordinator, designed assignments that require students to develop and implement a community-service project related to assisting public health. These projects, in many instances developed from clinical experiences, assist the underserved and give students experience dealing with nonprofit public health programs.
Emily Crone, a senior from Buffalo, New York, developed a successful program in response to a need she identified during her clinicals in Lawrenceburg at A Kid’s Place, which advocates for and assists sexually and physically abused children.
She noticed groupings of items—ranging from toothbrushes, deodorant, diapers, shampoo and more—made available free to those who attended A Kid’s Place. She collected donations of hygiene items, warm clothes for cold weather, coloring books and crayons.
“It truly opened my eyes to the number of families who unfortunately go without these items and don’t know where to turn,” she said.