VOL. 131 | NO. 95 | Thursday, May 12, 2016
Wilson Urges Family Philanthropy at Dunavant Awards
By Bill Dries
Families can have an impact on public service, the chairman of Kemmons Wilson Inc. said Wednesday, May 11, at the 13th annual Bobby Dunavant Public Servant Awards.
Spence Wilson cited the example of the Kemmons Wilson Family Foundations started by his father, Kemmons Wilson, the founder of Holiday Inns, and his mother, which now includes philanthropic work by generations of the family that have followed.
He urged the 600 attending the luncheon at the Holiday Inn University of Memphis to “coordinate our conversations as families” toward such endeavors.
The hotel, which is part of the Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality & Resort Management, is an example of the family’s philanthropy.
Wilson was the keynote speaker at the luncheon honoring the annual recipients of the awards named for the late Probate Court Clerk Bobby Dunavant.
The event is sponsored by The Daily News and the Rotary Club of Memphis East. A committee of Rotarians and members of the Dunavant family select the award winners from nominations submitted by the public.
One award is given to a local elected official. Another award is given to a local non-elected public official.
Lisa Geater, chief of staff to Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, was honored for her 27 years working in the Memphis City Council office – 20 of those years as the administrator of the council office.
Geater called the job “an opportunity and a great responsibility.”
State Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville was honored for his tenure in the Legislature as well as on the Shelby County Commission starting in 1994.
Norris recalled being mentored by Dunavant as an attorney when he would have matters in Probate Court, and Dunavant’s example of carrying forward the “nuts and bolts of good government.”
Norris said he considers the award “an aspirational goal.”