Peyton Manning returns to Knoxville to discuss leadership, retirement

Photos and videos of Manning were not permitted by audience members. Professional photographs will be added to the story once approved and released. 

On Friday, Sept. 22, Peyton Manning shared his journey from childhood to retirement and his thoughts on leadership with nearly 1,000 students and distinguished guests in Cox Auditorium at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Manning was a guest of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy as part of their Distinguished Lecture Series. Matthew Murray, Director of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, moderated the event.

This is the second NFL season since Manning retired, and Manning shared that he missed being a part of the team the most. He emphasized that between meals, training and plane rides to and from games, the team does everything together.

Before attending UTK, Manning said he had little connection to Tennessee. Manning said he visited during an ice storm, meaning he did not receive a good tour of the stadium. However, he did meet “good people,” including students and professors that made him realize he would enjoy being at UTK even if football did not work out for him.

After graduating in three years, Manning decided to stay at UTK and finish his senior year.

“Without a doubt, it was the best decision to stay at UT my senior year,” Manning said.

According to Manning, this gave him the opportunity to slow down and enjoy his time there.

Students began lining up for the Peyton Manning lecture over one hour before the doors opened. Credit: Kaitlin Flippo
Students began lining up for the Peyton Manning lecture over one hour before the doors opened. Credit: Kaitlin Flippo

“Don’t be in a hurry to get out of here…slow down, walk to class, enjoy friendships,” Manning said. “That senior year, I got to do those things.”

After talking about his time at UTK and his professional career, Manning shed light on his definition of leadership being the “ability to influence.”

“If you can’t influence the team, you can’t lead the team,” Manning said.

He emphasized the importance of being a good leader, a good communicator and asking questions. He said asking questions does not show weakness like many people think; instead, it opens windows.

Manning said it is easy to be a leader when the team is winning; but, when it is not good, it shows who the team really is. He stressed that when his team lost, no one called a press conference to shift the blame on other teammates. Instead, the team worked out their problems.

One aspect of leadership Manning highlighted the most was preparation.

“…you have to earn the respect of the people you’re leading,” Manning said.

When leaving the football field, Manning said he always thought there was more work that needed to be done, but never felt that he could have prepared more.

“I was never out there just winging it,” Manning said regarding play changes. He said every ‘audible’ call had been reviewed with the team beforehand. He said communication is important because everyone needs to be on the same page.

“You can’t talk to anyone the same way,” he said. He said direct two-way communication is the only way to communicate; there cannot be a middle man.

Manning told students entering the workforce that those employers are “drafting you” on potential and are “making an investment in you,” so it is important to earn that respect and be accountable.

Manning said preparation can be challenging because routines can seem mundane, but it helps having a passion. He said if you are miserable with your routine, it is time to make a change and find something new.

Aside from his coaches, his dad was one of his best mentors. Manning said he was fortunate to have parents who encouraged him and were “unbelievably supportive.”

Justin Kingrea, a senior at UTK majoring in supply chain management, said he was glad to see Manning talk about leadership.

“…I think [leadership is] something that applies to everybody. I thought, ‘What better person to hear it from than the G.O.A.T himself,’” Kingrea said. “…I think it’s one thing to see him but to get to hear him and what he has to say on [leadership] is really beneficial to really anyone.”

For more information on upcoming events with the Baker Center, visit their website.

Featured Image by Jeffrey Beall, courtesy of Creative Commons

Edited by Taylor Owens

Survivor urges more education on HIV, inisists it’s the first step to prevention

Students gathered in the Alumni Memorial Building to listen to HIV survivor, Hydeia Broadbent, speak about HIV and its relevance in student life on Tuesday, Feb. 28.

HIV is at its most dangerous when it isn’t talked about and properly identified to students in colleges and high schools, according to Broadbent.

“The first step to prevention for HIV negatives is to talk about it. The most dangerous part of HIV is being uneducated about it,” said Broadbent.

Broadbent was born with HIV, but wasn’t diagnosed with HIV until it had progressed to AIDS at the age of 3. Shortly after being diagnosed herself, it was discovered that her entire biological family was infected.

Instead of feeling insecure about it, she has been from very proactive with her doctor in spreading awareness and a message of hope through her own experiences by talking about it.

“It started when I was clearly proactive about it with my doctor. Eventually, he was like, ‘Do you want to come with me to give lectures about it on a first hand basis?’ Of course, I was totally for it,” Hydeia said.

Hydeia recommended a bi-yearly Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) examination for sexually active people, and a yearly STI examination for those who aren’t sexually active. She told her story as a story of survival and self-education.

“The biggest concern with those infected with HIV AIDS is actually not the disease itself, but the weakening of the immune system that follows. Any disease can be deadly for someone with HIV, so whenever someone sneezes or coughs in front of me and doesn’t cover their mouth, I’m like… ‘Get away’,” Broadbent joked.

The remainder of her talk was a message of hope to HIV positive people. Recommendations ranged from living a normal life, to doing anything possible to alleviate pain and reduce possibility of infection. Hydeia encouraged openness and honesty about status, in order to ensure safety and happiness for both negative and positive status people.

HIV and AIDS awareness day is March 10. For more information on HIV and what signs to look for, visit this website.


Edited by Kaitlin Flippo

Featured Image by Thomas Ferrell

UT transmission to International Space Station fails, lecturers still explore stellar topics

As the International Space Station (ISS) flew 250 miles above Knoxville, Tennessee on Wednesday, March 1, the public gathered in the University of Tennessee’s Nielsen Physics Building in hopes of speaking to an astronaut aboard the station.

If the event had gone as planned, students would have had a 12-minute interview with Commander Shane Kimbrough at approximately 2:08 p.m.

According to Grayson Hawkins, the former President of UT’s Student Space Technology Association, students from Knox County schools and UT were chosen to ask the astronaut questions. The group contacted Andrea Berry, the Supervisor for the Knox County School District, to send the contest rules to teachers across the county.

“She sent out our contest rules to astronomy and science teachers. They gathered questions and sent us the top five from each of their classes. We sorted through the top five,” Hawkins said. “A group of UT students just chose the winners and they happened to show up today which is exciting.”

After attempting to contact the ISS multiple times for 10 minutes, attendees only caught a glimpse of contact with ISS before the signal was lost. While many attendees were disappointed, those who opted to stay listened to a brief lecture about the ISS from UT Astronomy Coordinator Dr. Sean Lindsay.IMG_7664

Lindsay emphasized how the ISS is only 250 miles directly above ground and how, while it may seem far away, it is approximately the same distance from Knoxville, Tennessee to Atlanta, Georgia.

“There are people that live their everyday lives up there. There are astronauts doing the same sort of things that we are doing, except in a much more extraordinary way,” Lindsay said.

Lindsay discussed the origins of the ISS and its actual launch on Nov. 20, 1998.

The Zarya module has been in orbit for 18 years, three months and nine days. However, because it took about two years to make the space station livable, it has only been continuously occupied for only 16 years, three months and 26 days.

“The construction still continues,” Lindsay said. “There was recently a new module added and they still have plans to add more and more modules.”

Lindsay emphasized that the ISS is not just any ordinary space station, but has the term “International” in the name for a reason.

“This is one of the triumphs that we’ve had in human diplomacy,” Lindsay said. “Perhaps one of the best diplomatic things we’ve ever done. We have astronauts, six of them, that work together on a daily basis and they have no care in nationality. They work as a cohesive unit. So, this operates as a diplomatic station as well.”

There are five space agencies which include: NASA (USA), CSA (Canada), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan) and ESA (Europe), which includes several European countries.

Lindsay discussed how the ISS is visible to the naked-eye at night and frequently passes overhead. He also mentioned how it is often brighter than Venus and the size is slightly larger than Neyland Stadium. Lindsay provided links to websites for attendees interested in learning how to locate the station at night which include: Spot the Station, ISS Astro Viewer and Heavens Above.

Toward the end of the lecture, Lindsay spoke briefly about the activities happening on the ISS.

“All of these activities in some which way, shape or form are enriching humanity,” Lindsay said. “Even when they’re at play. If you don’t believe me at that point, I encourage you to look up Chris Hadfield’s tribute to David Bowie where he played the guitar on the International Space Station and made a music video as a tribute to David Bowie.

Lindsay continued by talking about microgravity and its effects on humans, including the stretching of one’s spine, loss of vision and the body’s response to medicine. Lindsay used UT alumni and astronaut, Scott Kelly, as an example, because Kelly was two inches taller when he returned to Earth after living in space for one year.

“What about growing plants? How do plants respond to microgravity? If we’re going to do long-term missions, like a six month voyage to Mars, we probably want to be able to provide our own food,” Lindsay said.

Lindsay emphasized that with microgravity, bone density is also a concern.

“You lose about one percent of your bone density per month,” Lindsay said. “The average amount of bone density loss for the elderly, once you start pushing like 65 plus, is about one percent bone density per year. So, that’s 12 times faster and it doesn’t matter the age…and you probably want some good bone density.”

Lindsay said the “Twins Experiment” is the best starting point to see how DNA is changed by microgravity.

He also mentioned one of the primary purposes of the ISS is education and outreach because of contests like the Student Spaceflight Experiments. It is a nationwide contest where student designed experiments are sent to the ISS.

“Simply, one of the best services it does is generating awe and wonder about the universe and science. That’s one of those things…being able to inspire entire generations,” Lindsay said. “The International Space Station is amazing…and I was hoping to talk about how several people were inspired by getting to talk to an astronaut today.”

Lindsay included his lecture with photos taken from the ISS.

For anyone interested in learning more about the ISS, there will be an event on Thursday, March 2 at 5 p.m. in Dabney-Buehler room 301 with guest speakers, Dr. Mark Whorton, the Executive Director for UT’s Space Institute and Barbara Lewis from Mission Control at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

Edited by McKenzie Manning

Featured Image by Kaitlin Flippo

Civil War lecture series draws history buffs to UT

Photographs, diaries, letters and other relics from East Tennessee Civil War sites were all on display at McClung Museum Sunday, Feb. 26 as part of the museum’s seventh annual Civil War Lecture series.

The audience of 70 listened as McClung’s civil war curator, Dr. Joan Markel, presented and explained the artifacts from circa 1860 that were found in Knoxville and around the land that would eventually become present day University of Tennessee.

Those in attendance were primarily Civil War enthusiasts who already knew a great deal about that period of time and sought to get a better understanding of record keeping and correspondence in the Civil War era military.

The lecture focused specifically on Gen. William T. Sherman, Capt. Orlando Poe and photographer George Barnard.

Markel shared with the audience that Sherman had a passionate disdain for East Tennessee.

“He was known for believing that you couldn’t get troops in to East Tennessee, you couldn’t get troops out and you couldn’t feed them while they were there,” she said.

She explained that Poe was a skilled mathematician who, through meticulous sketches and descriptions of the roads, creeks, hills and valleys, created a map of the area surrounding present day UT.

She took a moment to appreciate Barnard as well, claiming that, “(Mathew) Brady gets all the credit for civil war photojournalism but Barnard was a big player also…especially in the south.”

One particular point of interest was a panoramic picture taken of what would become UT’s landscape from on top of The Hill, around 1865. In that picture, Markel could identify the land that McClung Museum would eventually occupy.

Attendee Joan Harp, a retired Lebanon woman, said that these kinds of events are incredibly important simply because they highlight such a formative span of time in our country.

“People don’t always take immediate interest in the Civil War, but it really is quite interesting to know all the little facts and details about certain battles, trails and officers,” she said.

Harp added, “the ramifications of the Civil War in particular are especially fascinating just because they obviously had a really profound impact on our country regarding how we handled slavery.”

Andrew Riffanti, a student of sociology at UT, said that he had just recently developed an interest in Civil War era history but that the event, “definitely sparked more interest…I’ll be back for the next lecture.”

That lecture will be March 26 at 2 p.m. in McClung Museum and will center on the geographic struggles of Civil War battles in East Tennessee.

Visit this website for more information.

Edited by Kaitlin Flippo

Featured Image by Ryan McGill

Lecturer discusses “taxi” services, emphasizes importance of studying ancient encosystems

Dr. Colin Sumrall of the department of Earth and Planetary Sciences held a lecture on Friday about the Paleozoic Seas, discussing how the creatures that lived in them used to use one another as “taxis” or living surfaces.

Sumrall emphasized the importance of studying ancient ecosystems in order to better understand our own modern ones.  He further explained that this task can often be difficult, as most of the organisms he discussed were extinct.

“If I were to give you an example,” Sumrall said, “If you don’t have a fossil record and I were to ask you ‘how big can a land vertebrate get’, you’d say an African Elephant… but with a fossil record, we know of vertebrates that are 10 times as big.”

The nature of a fossil itself is quite grim, according to Sumrall.  Should a fossil be particularly in good shape, it is very likely that the specimen fossilized was buried alive in that position.  On the other hand, it allows scientists a glimpse into the timing of events occurring.

Most of the lecture was focused on discussing edrioasteroids, one of the more commonly found encrusters in Sumrall’s study. They require a hard substrate for attachment, and rapidly disarticulate after they die.  They are effectively immobilized after they find something to attach to.

Credit: Thomas Ferrell

“When they glue themselves down, it’s like they’re using superglue, in fact, this is were super glue came from,” Sumrall explained.

Edrioasteroids were also studied to not overgrow members of the same species, but did overgrown members of other species. Because of the fact that they cannot move, they effectively spread through means of growth, often covering another unfortunate species.

The final part of the lecture discussed evidence to find epibionts, or organisms that live attached to others. Sumrall spent time across the world finding fossilized epidbionts and discussing their relevance.  After studying them for 30 years, he explains that he is one of the only people who studies the subject.

William Futrell, a UT student thought the subject of the lecture was interesting. “While this lecture really isn’t specifically for anything I’m doing, it allows me to know more about the living ecosystems around me and how ancient creatures lived in various places,” he said.

More information about these lectures and future meetings can be found here.


Featured Image and photos by Thomas Ferrell

Edited by Kaitlin Flippo

Dr. Renato Cruz de Castro speaks on international and security relations

Written by Andrew Capps and Abby Hamilton

The Howard Baker Center for Public Policy hosted Dr. Renato Cruz de Castro on Monday night as part of their Global Lecture series.

After writing over 80 articles on international relations and security, Castro now travels to different universities, speaking about United States, Chinese and Philippine relations.

Castro’s lecture was anticipated by a capacity crowd in the Baker Center’s Toyota Auditorium.

“I noticed that by Thanksgiving Monday, my American classmates would start leaving campus, so I’m surprised by the turnout,” Castro said.

Castro’s lecture centered around the disputes of Chinese expansion into the international waters of the South China Sea and the history of US-Philippine relations. He shared the complex history of the American-Filipino relationship, elaborating that there have been both disputes and alliances over the years.

Castro stressed the idea that both countries have been advantageous to each other, as the United States has acted as a “shore balancer and strategic balancer in Southeast Asia,” providing the Philippines with resources it lacks. The Philippines has provided its strategic geographic location in return. 

Castro also highlighted the recent expansionary actions taken by China in the South China Sea and the international community’s response. 

“China has already become the second largest economy in the world, their navy’s purpose now is to push America out of the island chains in the South China Sea,” he said.

The Philippines’s strategic location in the South China Sea has caused conflicts with China over resources and access rights before, but now the Philippines is facing an economic and military dilemma.

According to Castro, an alliance with the United States is preferable to an alliance with China for the Philippines. 

“The US plays a very important balancing role because it does not have any territorial disputes with any countries in the region. It’s a Pacific power, but not an Asian power,” he said. “The goal of the United States is to maintain a balance of power in both Europe and Asia so that neither region could produce a power that could threaten its interests.”

The recent move by Filipino leadership towards an economic partnership with China was the result of a weakening in US military presence in the Philippines as a result of discontent with the US in the Philippine Senate.

 “No amount of defense build-up would allow the Philippines to defeat China, they must rely on the support of the US,” Castro said. “The Mutual Defense Treaty [between the Philippines and the US] does not provide for a very specific response from the United States, which is why [President] Duterte has started to embrace the Chinese.”

President Duterte has recently been dissatisfied with the US, and has spoken about terminating the joint patrol with the US in the South China Seas. However, according to Castro, the Filipino people think highly of the United States, who have proven to be beneficial to the country in the past, so Duterte has had to walk back his rhetoric.

Castro elaborated that US military exercises will continue; however, the Navy and Marine exercises will cease so that China will not be antagonized.

Castro said that Trump represents a complete change from the Obama administration’s policies in regards to the future of Filipino-American relations under President-elect Trump.

“The basis of [his] rebalancing will be rebuilding the US Navy,” Castro said. “It puts China in a classic security dilemma when you simply rely on military capability unlike the approach of President Obama, which uses diplomacy and regional organizations.”

Castro was cautiously optimistic about the relationship between Trump and Duterte. He noted that Duterte admired Trump’s attitude and is excited to work with him when he takes office in January.

Trump’s hard stance against China puts an open strain on Duterte to balance the influence of the two global powers. Who Duterte will embrace and how it will affect the situation in the South China Sea remains to be seen.

Featured Image by Ryan McGill
Edited by Kaitlin Flippo