Tom Stebbins is one of three statewide winners of the Charles and Julie Wharton Award​

2016 Wharton Award Winners from the UT Institute of Agriculture

The UT Institute of Agriculture recognizes three UT Extension Agents with the annual Charles and Julie Wharton Award for Outstanding Extension Achievements. Shown with Dr. Tim Cross, UT Dean of Extension (left) are this year’s honorees: Bob Shumake, Weakley County; Judy Kovach, Robertson County; and Tom Stebbins, Hamilton County. UTIA Chancellor Larry Arrington is shown far right.​

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.

Tom Stebbins, who is with UT Extension in Hamilton County in agriculture and natural resources, is one of three winners of the Charles and Julie Wharton Award for Outstanding Extension Achievements. The award recognizes winners in agriculture, family and consumer sciences and 4-H, and includes an agent from each region of Tennessee.

Stebbins’ area of expertise is urban and commercial horticulture. He leads a group of more than 200 Extension Master Gardeners in Chattanooga, and they’ve donated nearly 100,000 hours of work the past five years. Projects under Stebbins’ leadership include a food bank demonstration garden with produce grown for the needy, gardens at the Chattanooga library, and landscaping at an early learning center for children.

In addition, Stebbins serves as an advisor to the Chattanooga Association of Landscape Professionals, and teaches workshops on plant selection, pruning and pesticides. He’s known as a cool teacher – even dressing up like Sherlock Holmes with a hat, coat, pipe and magnifying glass, to teach kids about the “mysteries” of plant life.

“It’s an honor and pleasure to receive the Charles and Julie Wharton Achievement Award,” Stebbins says. “I am humbled by this recognition from my regional supervisor and dean. I look forward to serving and supporting UT Extension for the rest of my life.”

“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 made possible by Charles Wharton and his late wife Julie. Mr. and Mrs. Wharton have been generous supporters of UTIA and the UT College of Veterinary Medicine through their financial gifts. The other winners of this award are Judy Kovach, UT Extension agent for Robertson County, and Bob Shumake, 4-H agent for Weakley County.

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



Charles Denney, 865-382-8058 (mobile),

Tom Stebbins, 423-855-6113,