James Newburn is the winner of the Mildred Pendergrass Outstanding Service Award​

James Newburn, 2016 Pendergrass Winner, UTIA

James Newburn, assistant director and curator of the UT Gardens, was honored with the UT Institute of Agriculture’s 2016 Mildred Pendergrass Outstanding Service Award. Pictured are (left to right) Caula Beyl, Dean of the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources; James Newburn; and Larry Arrington, UTIA Chancellor.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture recently presented several awards to top faculty, staff, researchers and outreach experts. Thirty-two people were recognized at UTIA’s annual Awards and Promotions Luncheon held in early August. Many of the awards are gifts made possible by past faculty, alumni and friends of the Institute.

James Newburn, assistant director and curator of the UT Gardens, was honored with the Institute’s Mildred Pendergrass Outstanding Service Award.

The UT Institute of Agriculture likes to brag it has the prettiest front porch you’ll ever see – the UT Gardens, which hosts more than 1 million visitors each year. Newburn has been the gardens’ curator since 2000, and working on the UTIA campus since his days as a plant sciences student.

Newburn works in ornamental horticulture and developing plant varieties, and oversees the design and upkeep of the gardens. He’s responsible for the dramatic bed displays to showcase many new plant selections the Institute evaluates for companies around the world. Newburn also coordinates events such as the Gardens Gala, Blooms Days and plant sales, and conducts tours and seminars for green industry professionals, gardeners and youth groups. 

“I get to come to work every day to the most beautiful place on campus and work with people who are passionate about what they do,” Newburn says.

“We are so proud of the many talented and dedicated people working for the UT Institute of Agriculture across the state,” says UTIA Chancellor Larry Arrington. “It was an honor to recognize all these award winners for their hard work.”

This award is presented in memory of Mildred Pendergrass, wife of the former Vice President of Agriculture Webster Pendergrass, and goes to employees among the technical, skill and service staff of the Institute.

Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. ag.tennessee.edu



Charles Denney, 865-382-8058 (mobile), cmdenney@utk.edu

James Newburn, 865-974-7324, jnewburn@utk.edu