The Hardy Liston Jr. Symbol of Hope Award goes to a faculty member, staff member, or friend of the university who demonstrates a commitment to diversity, multiculturalism, and appreciation of the differences in people and cultures on our campus.
As director of the Office of Multicultural Student Life, Tanisha Jenkins has advanced Rocky Top’s understanding of and appreciation for multiculturalism, equity, and inclusion. She uses her position to foster collaborations between student organizations that might not otherwise connect. For instance, when white supremacists arranged to speak on campus, causing concern and even terror for many students, Jenkins worked with leaders of the Student Political Alliance, the NAACP, the Multicultural Mentoring Program, and the Student Government Association to produce an alternate event, United in Love, where students could feel safe and supported. Jenkins, who is also a doctoral candidate in educational leadership and policy studies, has been active on the Student Life Diversity Committee and the Chancellor’s Council for Diversity and Interculturalism. She was recognized in 2018 among Knoxville’s Top 40 Under 40 Influencers and Innovators.