The African American Hall of Fame Award recognizes African Americans who have made important contributions to the university, demonstrated distinguished service, leadership, and social advocacy.
This spring semester was sadly marked by the death of longtime UT employee Marva Rudolph. A Chattanooga native, Rudolph worked in the areas of diversity, inclusion, and human rights for over thirty years. Before joining UT in 1990 as a specialist in affirmative action, she worked with the Tennessee Human Rights Commission. In 1994, she was named assistant director of UT’s Diversity Resources and Education Services office, later renamed the Office of Equity and Diversity, and she became the office’s director in 1999. In 2013, she was promoted to associate vice chancellor. Rudolph worked to ensure equity in university recruitment and helped students and employees resolve issues related to equity and diversity. She also was responsible for ensuring the university’s compliance with federal diversity and disability requirements. She was very involved with the Commission for Blacks, serving as a commissioner, a member of the executive committee, and chair of the bylaws committee. She remained active with the commission until shortly before her death, stressing the need for Knoxville business owners to be involved in encouraging African Americans to stay in the city and work for its future growth. Rudolph passed away on February 6. Recognizing her lifetime of service, Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek said, “Marva was a recognized diversity professional who worked tirelessly to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion at UT.” The Commission for Blacks has chosen to add Marva Rudolph to the African American Hall of Fame to honor her decades of distinguished service, leadership, and advocacy for a diverse and inclusive campus environment.