Back to top

Advertising Executive Tombras Receives CCI Hileman Award

Charlie Tombras

Charlie Tombras, president and CEO of the Tombras Group advertising agency, received the 2013 Donald G. Hileman Alumni Award at the UT Knoxville, College of Communication and Information's awards and scholarship donor appreciation banquet on November 8.

The banquet was held in conjunction with the college's Fall 2013 Board of Visitors meeting.

“Visionary leadership, hard work, honesty, integrity and outstanding entrepreneurial skills have characterized Charlie Tombras’ 47-year career,” said CCI Dean Mike Wirth. “As a decorated Vietnam veteran, award winning advertising executive and outstanding community servant, Charlie is a remarkable role model for our students, and  we are proud to present him with the college’s 2013 Hileman Award.”

Tombras is a 1964 CCI graduate and Vietnam veteran, earning the Air Medal, Bronze Star and Bronze Star of Valor during his military career as an Army Airborne Ranger.

Tombras is a recognized national leader in his field. He is a recipient of the American Advertising Federation's (AAF) Bob McCabe Silver Medal Award for outstanding contributions to the advertising industry, the winner of multiple AAF National ADDY Awards and a member of the AAF Knoxville Chapter’s Hall of Fame. He also is a graduate of the Leadership Knoxville professional development program and was named the Outstanding Marketing Professional of the Year by the Knoxville American Marketing Association.

The Tombras Group is the oldest advertising agency in Tennessee, with offices in Washington D.C., Louisville, Ky., Charleston, S.C., and Knoxville, Nashville, and Kingsport, Tenn.

The Donald G. Hileman Award is named for the first permanent dean of the College of Communications, the forerunner to the College of Communication and Information. The award was established in 1994 in celebration of the college's 25th anniversary. It is awarded to college alumni who have made notable contributions to the field of communication and information.

Past recipients include  John Noble Wilford, 2-time Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times science correspondent/senior writer; Alexia Poe, director of communications for Governor Bill Haslam; McCormick & Company Inc. chairman, president and CEO Alan Wilson; former Esquire magazine publisher Alan N. Greenberg; and former UT quarterback and four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning.

Other CCI alumni that received awards at the banquet include:

  • Advertising Alumnus of the Year: Kevin Kirksey ('98), senior director, North America brand communication and digital, Nike
  • Communication Studies Alumnus of the Year: Dean Rice ('94), chief of staff, Knox County Mayor
  • Information Sciences Alumna of the Year: ShaLi Zhang ('88), dean of libraries and professor, Mansfield Library, University of Montana
  • Journalism and Electronic Media Alumnus of the Year: Dean Littleton ('92), vice president & general manager, WATE-TV
  • Public Relations Alumna of the Year: Mary Beth West ('94), principal, Mary Beth West Consulting

For more information on the College of Communication and Information Hileman Award winners, visit http://www.cci.utk.edu/hileman-award.