The Tennessee Higher Education Commission has selected David McBeth, professor of art at the University of Tennessee at Martin, as one of 10 recipients of a 2019 Harold Love Outstanding Community Service Award. These awards recognize five students and five faculty and staff members from higher education institutions across the state for their community service efforts.
McBeth, who has worked at UT Martin since 1992, has been instrumental in Martin’s annual Empty Bowls Soup Supper for the past 15 years. McBeth donates his time and materials to create handcrafted soup bowls for the event, and this past year he and many of his current and former students worked together to donate 1,500 bowls. The supper supports WeCare Ministries in Martin each year and has donated more than $60,000 in the past 15 years.
“I know the ministry is grateful to David and his students for their unending work to create the bowls and organize the event each year, and those the ministry serves are appreciative as well,” wrote Dr. Keith Carver, UT Martin chancellor, in McBeth’s nomination letter.
McBeth has also coordinated Cups for the Cure each February since 2017 in honor of his mother, who died after a short battle with cancer. This event features handmade cups and mugs donated by McBeth and his students, and funds raised benefit Joliet Oncology-Hematology Associates, a foundation at the cancer center where McBeth’s mother received treatment.
“I’ve known and admired David for almost two decades, and I’ve always known him as someone passionate about serving his community and using his art to lift the spirits of those around him,” wrote Carver.
McBeth also assisted the Ken-Tenn Food Bank in Fulton, Kentucky, by donating 250 bowls to its inaugural Empty Bowls event March 21. That organization was able to raise $2,500 for their area residents in their first year.
The Harold Love Outstanding Community Service Award is named for the late state representative Harold Love, who was instrumental in passing legislation to create community service recognition programs at the state level in 1991. Kameron Echols, then a UT Martin student and now with the UT Martin Student Success Center, won a student award in 2017, and Dr. Clinton Smith, associate professor of special education, won a faculty award in 2018.
For more information, contact the UT Martin Office of University Relations at 731-881-7615.