Meet Our Team
Board of Friends
The UT Humanities Center’s Board of Friends is comprised of distinguished professionals from a variety of backgrounds who serve in an advisory capacity to the center’s director. Board members are invited to serve staggered three-year terms by the center’s director; the Board Chair is selected by majority vote of the Board. The Board of Friends supports the mission of the Humanities Center by providing advice, advocacy, service, and contributions in support of its programs and administration.
Adam Braude was born and raised in Kansas City. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Amherst College, majoring in history and psychology. After a memorable decade-long layover in Chicago (which included a fortuitous blind date with his now-wife, Julie), the Braudes moved to Durham, North Carolina, where Adam attended and received his MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. A job offer to become Webb School’s CFO brought Adam, Julie, and their oldest daughter, Evie (later to be joined by little sister, Millie) to Knoxville; while they never could have imagined it at the time, more than fifteen years have since passed and now both girls are much closer to college than kindergarten. In addition to his day job, Adam coaches cross country and track at Webb, and he has led members of the outdoor club on several wilderness backpacking trips to the Western United States. Adam sees UT as a tremendous resource for Knoxville, and he looks forward to helping the Humanities Center extend the university’s reach into the community.
Katharine (Katie) Burnett is an associate professor of English and chair of the Arts & Languages department at Fisk University in Nashville, TN. She is the author of Cavaliers and Economists: Global Capitalism and the Development of Southern Literature, 1820–1860 (LSU Press, 2019). She is the co-editor of The Tacky South (LSU Press, 2022) with Monica Carol Miller as well as the Routledge Companion to Literature of the U.S. South (2022) with Monica Miller and Todd Hagstette. Her work has appeared in collections such as the Cambridge Companion to Literature of the Civil War and Reconstruction (2022), the Cambridge History of the Literature of the U.S. South (2021), and Southern Comforts (LSU Press, 2020), as well as in journals such as PMLA, College Literature, the Southern Literary Journal, and Global South. In 2012-2013, she had the pleasure of being a graduate fellow in the UT Humanities Center while at work on her dissertation project, “The Dixie Plantation State: Global Capitalism and Southern Literature,” which was also funded by an ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship.
Ashley Capps began his career hosting a jazz show on the University of Tennessee’s WUOT public radio station in 1979. In the late 1980s, Ashley opened a club in the Old City of Knoxville called Ella Guru’s, perhaps Knoxville’s first nightclub to schedule a variety of traveling acts and the beginning of relationships with artists, managers, and promoters that Ashley continued in 1991 by founding AC Entertainment, a world-class music programming and production company; he left the company in 2020. Starting in 2001, Ashley produced Bonnaroo, a now much-emulated fan-based, multi-day music festival, and in 2009, in partnership with Jason Boardman of Knoxville’s Pilot Light and Chris Molinski at the Knoxville Museum of Art, he launched the annual Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, a nonprofit cultural organization that features an array of world-class artists, 100+ performances along with a film festival, 12-hour drone, and an array of panels, workshops, and exhibitions in Knoxville’s concert halls, listening rooms, clubs, churches, and galleries. In 2009, Ashley helped launch the Bonnaroo Works Fund, the charitable arm of the Bonnaroo Festival, supporting nonprofit organizations with Tennessee based arts education and environmental sustainability initiatives.
Kay B. Housch
Kay B. Housch president of Kay B. Housch, P.C. in Nashville, Tennessee and a title agent for Stewart Title Guaranty Company and First American Title Insurance Company. She received her B.A. degree from the University of Tennessee and her J.D. degree from the Nashville School of Law. Ms. Housch is a member of the American, Tennessee and Nashville Bar Associations, and the Middle Tennessee Chapter of CCIM; and has served as the chair of the Executive Committee for the Real Estate Section of the Tennessee Bar Association and as the chair of the Real Estate Committee of the Nashville Bar Association. She has lectured on the subjects of title insurance and real property law for the Nashville and Tennessee Bar Associations, the Tennessee Land Title Association, and the Stewart Title Guaranty Company. Kay is a native Nashvillian and the wife of Paul Toby Housch, Esq. (B.A. University of Tennessee, 1978). She is a member of Alpha Chi Omega.
Doug McKamey is a fourth-generation Knoxvillian, his great grandfather having moved here in the late 1880s from Anderson-Roane County. He took his high school degree at Bearden High School and attended Clemson University for four years studying architecture. He then transferred to UT where he graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture. Doug worked for Community Tectonics and James A. Embry architectural firms in Gatlinburg for about five years following graduation. He returned to Knoxville and worked for Ira A. Watson Company (a locally-based retailer) for the next 22 years where he rose to be a Vice President in charge of Construction and Facilities Management. After Watson’s was sold, Doug was hired by First Tennessee Bank as a Vice President and Trust Officer in charge of Real Estate. He manages all of the property held in trust in East Tennessee. Doug is a former President and Board Member Emeritus of Knox Heritage, the architectural preservation group, with which he has been involved for over 25 years. He is active in the Knoxville Opera Guild and serves on that board. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Knoxville and has served in several capacities with that organization
Diana Arvin Morgan
Diana Arvin Morgan retired from The News Sentinel as its Community and Education Manager. She served on its Executive Team for 20 years. Morgan has served as an officer or advisory board member of numerous organizations and nonprofits including the Antique Advertising Association of America, East Tennessee Public Television, the YWCA of Knoxville, the Friends of Literacy, the Great Schools Partnership, Nine Counties One Vision, Junior Achievement, and the Southern Newspaper Association’s Literacy Committee. She was a Chancellor’s Associate at UT and is a member of the Leadership Knoxville class of 2000. For 14 years, Morgan was the moderator of the PBS Scholars’ Bowl, the high school quiz game. She also managed The News Sentinel’s Empty Stocking Fund, which is East Tennessee’s oldest corporate charity. Working with a dedicated team of media and businesses, she served as liaison with the Fire Department of New York City and the East Tennessee community to raise the money for the Freedom Engine, the 95-foot ladder truck East Tennessee sent to the people of New York City following 9/11. An effective public speaker, she has been the keynote presenter at many state and regional conferences. Morgan has received numerous awards including the University of Tennessee’s Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Professional Promise, She received her Masters from UTK and completed most of her doctorate there in French and Spanish. She received her undergraduate degree in French and Spanish from Indiana University.
Sylvia Peters is a retired urban educator who served children, parents, other educators, school systems, and law enforcement agencies from coast to coast. She started her career in Chicago, IL as a kindergarten teacher and became an award winning, nationally recognized principal, serving as the Dean of Student Teachers at the University of Southern California and at Rio Grande Valley, Texas for “Teach for America.” She was a founding partner of the Edison Project, and she was one of the founders of the Character Education Partnership in Washington, DC and served a term as its president. She organized White House conferences and worked with legislators from both sides of the aisle to raise funds for teaching character development in 43 states and has spoken throughout the country on matters of education, community partnerships and safe schools. Peters has been honored with many awards and appeared in films, television programs and high profile speaking platforms. She retired from her professional career and returned to Knoxville to share her expertise with businesses, and non-profit organizations locally and around the country. She founded Legacy Works Productions, serves on the Knoxville Museum of Art Board of Trustees and is a member of the McNabb Board and the Knoxville Museum of Art Guild Board. She is serving as the chairman of the Delaney Project: Gathering Light. She is a member of the 100 Black Women and Links Inc., Chapters of Knoxville, TN.
Tommie Rush is a native of Mobile, Alabama and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Early in her studies in studio art, Rush began work in ceramics and eventually worked exclusively in glass, and she now maintains an atelier, Tomco Inc., in Knoxville. In 1980, Rush began to share a studio with renowned artist Richard Jolley, whom she married several years later. Through experimentation with custom-blended glass mixed in the studio, Rush has created a unique and identifiable style, and her work has been shown in more than seventy-five exhibitions as well as honored in a 2011 retrospective exhibition at the Mobile Museum of Art. Rush created a glass and welded-steel, site-specific commission for the headquarters of Scripps Networks in Knoxville, and her work can be found in numerous private and museum collections throughout the United States, including the Sheldon Art Museum and Sculpture Garden in Lincoln, Nebraska; the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC; and the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville, Tennessee. As a tireless supporter of the arts, Rush has served on several national boards, including the Glass Art Society in Seattle; the Penland School of Craft in Asheville, North Carolina; and the American Craft Council in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She remains very active with her local arts community.
Sarah Swinford is the Director of Loghaven Artist Residency. Loghaven provides time and space to artists from around the country to make new work in Knoxville in the fields of visual art, performance, and writing. Directing Loghaven since its launch, Sarah leads the program with a focus on providing supportive and transformative residency experiences while building enduring relationships with artist Fellows. Prior to joining Loghaven, Sarah managed the performing arts program at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, where she worked closely with artists on residencies, performances, and workshops. She has implemented and planned many long and short-term residencies, facilitated world premieres of new work, and presented hundreds of unique performances. Sarah has also served on various grant panels, including most recently as a reader and panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts’ CARES Act Grant. She is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis.