Mary Anne Hitt, who served as Appalachian Voices’ Executive Director from spring 2004 until November, 2008, recently received the University of Tennessee’s Notable Woman award.
The award, given every year since 1995 by the University of Tennessee Commission for Women, honors “a woman whose accomplishments bring distinction to the university.” Margaret Crawford, who serves as chair of the commission, says they were drawn to Hitt because she “exemplified a person who was committed to the type of work that she was doing as an undergraduate.”
Hitt’s thesis for UT’s College Scholars program, entitled “The Greening of the Big Orange,” examined campus policies concerning recycling, energy use and waste disposal, and has since become the framework for the campus’ sustainability agenda. She also founded the campus’ first environmental group, SPEAK, or Students Promoting Environmental Action in Knoxville. The group continues to make an impact on the campus today.
Since graduating from UT in 1997, Hitt has worked tirelessly to end mountaintop removal in Appalachia. While at Appalachian Voices she spearheaded the partnership with Google Earth Outreach to use satellite images and the Google Earth tool to show the devastating effects of mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia. She now serves as the deputy director of the National Coal Campaign for the Sierra Club.