This article was originally published in the Hamilton County Herald.

Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel honored the 2015-2016 John C. Stophel Distinguished Students from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga during the firm’s annual Stophel Scholars reception on Thursday, Feb. 11.

The reception at the Chambliss Conference Center in Liberty Tower offered the 10 award recipients, including one graduate and nine undergraduate students, the opportunity to meet and engage with members of Chattanooga’s business community.

Sharing how the Stophel Scholars program impacted him, one of last year’s Stophel Scholars, Aaron DeLaughter, said, “Being a Chambliss Stophel Scholar allowed me to be mentored by a prominent figure in the Chattanooga business community. Thanks to his advice, I’m looking forward to joining groups such as Leadership Chattanooga as I continue to progress as a contributor to this thriving city.”

“These students are more than overachievers in the class room,” said Mike St. Charles, managing shareholder at Chambliss. “They excel in their activities for the university and the community. It is appropriate for these outstanding individuals to be recognized for their achievements and commitment to excellence. We’re pleased to introduce these students to local business leaders, who will offer valuable practical insight and advice, as well as serve as real-life examples of the benefits of hard work.”

The Stophel Scholars program, now in its ninth year, aims to foster local talent and encourage promising students to build long-lasting mentor relationships with Chattanooga professionals. The John C. Stophel Distinguished Student Award recognizes students with high potential in the UTC College of Business who are emerging leaders. Award recipients are chosen based on their strong leadership, decision-making, and communication skills, as well as the presence of a high degree of self-motivation.

This year’s recipients include: Elizabeth Betty, General Management  (Nashville, Tenn.); Meredith Beckenthal, Accounting (Memphis, Tenn.); Heather Delbridge, General Management and Human Resources (Murfreesboro, Tenn.); Clint Landers, Master of Business (Franklin, Tenn.); Donald Marsh II, Finance (Gainesville, Fla.); Lara Pietrantone, Economics, (Chattanooga, Tenn.); Abigail Scott, General Management (Lebanon, Tenn.); Karah Sisk, Marketing (Murfreesboro, Tenn.); Kassidy Weaver, General Management and Human Resources (Nashville, Tenn.); and Xing “Berry” Xiao, Accounting (Cleveland, Tenn.).

“The UTC College of Business is proud to present our John C. Stophel scholars and to celebrate these exceptional young men and women,” said Dr. Robert Dooley, Dean of the UTC College of Business. “Not only are they are accomplished students, but they have shown themselves to be leaders who have a passion for community service. We want to thank Chambliss for their commitment to excellence shown through their support of the John C. Stophel Award. This event allows us the opportunity to introduce some of our top students to the Chattanooga community and gives the students a chance to connect with mentors and future employers.”

Chambliss law firm established an endowment at UTC in 2008 to honor the legacy of Stophel, a founding member of the firm. Stophel practiced law for more than 50 years, during which he led numerous civic, charitable, and religious efforts to benefit the Chattanooga community. He additionally served as Chairman of the University of Chattanooga Foundation Board of Trustees from 2001 to 2004.