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2022 Gene Mitchell Gray Pioneer Award

The Gene Mitchell Gray Pioneer Award recognizes a student or group for promoting cultural diversity and enrichment on campus.

Simphany Gillard

Simphany Gillard smiling at the cameraSimphany Renee’ Gillard is a senior therapeutic recreation major, minoring in child and family studies from Memphis. Simphany has dedicated her years at the university to promoting servant leadership, accessibility, diversity, and inclusion. Her philosophy in life comes from Theodore Roosevelt: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

What does being a Volunteer mean to you? How has UT empowered you to make a difference in a way you might not have imagined elsewhere?

Being a Volunteer means being OK with being the first person to step up. It means being OK with advocating for what you believe. It means creating an environment that TRULY promotes diversity, inclusivity, change and acceptance all while being your authentic self. UT has shown me the good, bad, and ugly that comes with being a leader, and with those experiences I have allowed myself to evolve into someone that I can always be proud of.