When the 11th annual Bobby Dunavant Public Service awards are given out in April, the University of Memphis will also host the awards’ second annual symposium on public service.
Former Shelby County Mayor Jim Rout, from left, Rotary Club of Memphis East President David Leake and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell were among those at a reception for past Dunavant Award winners.
(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)
Leaders of the Rotary Club of Memphis East announced Thursday, Feb. 13, the symposium will move to the same day as the awards, April 21, after debuting last year on a different date than the awards ceremony.
The first symposium was a detailed discussion that continued the emphasis on the nature of good government service that the awards already highlight. The discussion among government leaders – former and present, elected and appointed – was specific and revealed that ethical boundaries aren’t always obvious.
“There’s a whole lot of gray areas out there,” said Rotary East President David Leake. “This discussion can pay big dividends in this community.”
“This is second nature to us,” added David Cox, executive assistant for partnerships and administration at the University of Memphis. “Ethics is real-world, applied day-to-day issues. We want to build on that.”
The announcement was made at a reception for past winners of the awards, which are named for late Probate Court Clerk Bobby Dunavant and are awarded each year to one elected and one nonelected public official.
“It means so much to this award to have nominees from past winners. You know the story behind these people.”
The University of Memphis and The Daily News sponsor the awards and symposium.
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., will be the keynote speaker for the awards luncheon at the Holiday Inn University of Memphis. Speakers for this year’s symposium have not been announced yet.
The Rotary Club is taking award nominations through March 14 at the club’s website, rotaryclubofmemphiseast.org.
The nominees are judged by a committee of Rotary East members and the Dunavant family.
The Thursday gathering at InSouth Bank included former Shelby County Mayor Jim Rout, current County Mayor Mark Luttrell, Jury Commissioner Kit Carson, Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich, and Airport Authority attorney Brian Kuhn, as well as Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald, Germantown Mayor Sharon Goldsworthy and Memphis City Council members Myron Lowery and Jim Strickland.
Leake urged the past award winners to also nominate individuals for both awards and to remain involved in the symposium.
“It means so much to this award to have nominees from past winners,” he said. “You know the story behind these people. We want to keep this award at the same level it’s been.”