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Recognitions, June 26

Harjo Named US Poet Laureate

As the John C. Hodges Chair of Excellence in the UT Department of English, Professor Joy Harjo encouraged her students to pay attention to the details of life in order to develop the craft to speak and write with knowledge, compassion, and fluency. In her new role as poet laureate of the United States, Harjo, who officially retires from the university in July, will help raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry.

“Joy Harjo has championed the art of poetry—soul talk, as she calls it—for more than four decades,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “To her, poems are carriers of dreams, knowledge, and wisdom, and through them she tells an American story of tradition and loss, reckoning and myth making. Her work powerfully connects us to the earth and the spiritual world with direct, inventive lyricism that helps us re-imagine who we are.”

Belew New Head of Conferences and Non-Credit Programs

Leanna Belew, who has worked at the Knoxville Convention Center and Visit Knoxville, is the executive director of UT Conferences and Non-Credit Programs. She started work on May 28.

“Knoxville is home,” Belew said. “I’ve worked in and around this industry for so long, when I heard this position was available I knew this is where I wanted to be.”

Belew moved to Maryville when she was in middle school and graduated from Heritage High School in Blount County. She has a bachelor’s degree from Carson-Newman University.

American Diabetes Association Recognizes Professor’s Work

Samantha Ehrlich, assistant professor in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Department of Public Health, was recognized earlier this month by the Women’s Inter-professional Network of the American Diabetes Association.

Ehrlich, an epidemiologist who has been teaching at UT since 2015, has dedicated her career to reproductive and perinatal health research, focusing on how pregnancy behaviors and exposures impact the development of obesity and diabetes in women and their children.

Claudio Gómez Named Jefferson Chapman Executive Director of McClung Museum

For the first time in nearly three decades, the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture is welcoming a new executive director.

Claudio Gómez, director of the National Museum of Natural History of Chile, has been named the museum’s first Jefferson Chapman Executive Director, announced Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor David Manderscheid on Monday. The position is named in honor of the current director, who will remain until Gómez starts on September 1.

“Mr. Gómez’s extensive museum experience in both Chile and the United States has prepared him well to lead the McClung Museum, which has an important role in the university’s outreach, education, and research mission,” Manderscheid said. “I want to thank Dr. Chapman for his decades of excellent leadership and his continued service through his transition.”