Four notable CCI alumni* were among the 19 UTK alumni who received 2017 UTK Alumni Board of Directors’ awards. This year’s award recipients from CCI were: Peyton Manning (BA/CS ’97), Charlie Tombras (BS/AD ‘64), Martha “Missy” Wallen (BA/CS ‘74) and Sharrie Williams (BS/JEM ‘01). Tombras, Wallen and Williams received their awards on September 11 at the annual UT Knoxville Board of Directors Awards Dinner at the Knoxville Convention Center (KCC). Manning received his award on September 22 at a special ceremony at KCC just prior to UT’s Join the Journey Campaign Kickoff Gala.
“These award recipients have contributed greatly to their professions, their communities and the University of Tennessee,” said CCI Dean Mike Wirth. “They inspire all of us, students, faculty, staff and alumni, to be the best we can be in everything we do.”
Peyton Manning, UT Distinguished Alumnus Award
Peyton Manning, founder of the PeyBack Foundation, is best known as a retired NFL quarterback. He was the first overall NFL Draft Pick in 1998. Among his many athletic awards, Manning has been a five time NFL MVP, a three time Best NFL Player ESPY Award recipient and, most recently, he's been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. In 2013, he was selected as the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year. He is a CCI Honorary Board of Visitors member, a recipient of CCI’s Hileman Distinguished Alumni Award (2009) and a member of CCI’s Circle Park Society. His philanthropy has earned him the Byron “Whizzer” White Humanitarian Award and the 2017 Lincoln Medal. He was selected as a Top 100 University of Tennessee Alumnus by Tennessee Alumnus magazine in honor of its 100th year of publication.
Charlie Tombras, UT Alumni Professional Achievement Award
Charlie Tombras is CEO and president of The Tombras Group, a 250+ employee, full service advertising agency. In 2016, The Tombras Group was selected as the Palma Group’s Independent Agency of the Year. Ad Age awarded the company a Silver Medal as the 2015 National Agency of the Year. Tombras received the American Advertising Federation (AAF) Bob McCabe Silver Medal Award and numerous Addy Awards, and he was selected for the Knoxville AAF Hall of Fame. He is an emeritus member of CCI’s Board of Visitors, a member of CCI’s Bickel Society and a recipient of CCI’s Hileman Distinguished Alumni Award (2013). During the Vietnam War, Tombras served as an Airborne Ranger in the United States Army and was award the Bronze Star for Valor, the Bronze Star for Meritorious Achievement and the Air Medal.
Martha “Missy” Wallen, UT Alumni Service Award
Martha “Missy” Wallen is Knoxville Chairman of Pinnacle Financial Partners. She is immediate past-chair of CCI’s Board of Visitors, co-chair of CCI’s Journey to the Top 25 Campaign and a member of CCI’s Circle Park Society. Wallen previously served served on the executive committee of the UTK Alumni Board of Directors and as a member of the UT Knoxville Chancellor’s Associates. Wallen recently established the William H. Swain Endowed Professorship in the School of Communication Studies in honor of her father and Room 314 in the Communications Building has been named “The Martha S. Wallen Classroom” in her honor.
Sharrie Williams, UT Alumni Promise Award
Sharrie Williams is an anchor and news reporter for Disney/ABC’s WPVI-TV in Philadelphia. She progressed to this top five market position after serving similar roles at KTVT-TV in Dallas, WFOR-TV in Miami and WVTM-TV in Birmingham. . During her time at UT, she was one of the co-founders of The Volunteer Channel (TVC). Williams was recognized with a UT Accomplished Alumni Award in 2014 and has inspired classrooms of students with her career talks about setting high standards and achieving success through hard work and determination. In 2009, Williams was selected for the “Top 40 Under 40 Award” by Success South Florida.
*Pictured: UTK Chancellor Beverly Davenport, Peyton Manning, Robert Lewis, president of the UT Knoxville Alumni Board, Sharrie Williams, Charlie Tombras and Missy Wallen.