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Alumni Spotlight: George Shields

George Shields, Former College of Law Senator and Government Affairs Member

George Shields is an active alumnus of the University of Tennessee and the Student Government Association. He is currently a full-time lawyer for the City of Knoxville Law Department and a part-time military officer. Before practicing law, George served in the United States Air Force from 2007-2011, where he then transitioned into the Air Force Reserves. He has remained active with UT after graduating, serving on UT System’s Alumni Legislative Council, as well as UT System’s Alumni Association Advisory Council.

George not only worked through the rigorous law school curriculum but became involved with SGA’s Government Affairs Committee and UT’s Task Force in Support of Student Veterans when he joined the law program. He remained a member of the committee for three years, and, while serving, became a senator for the College of Law in the 2013-2014 school year.

When asked what his favorite part of his SGA experience was George said, “I am grateful that my time at SGA happened to coincide with that of so many genuinely good people. I made several everlasting friendships and my involvement in SGA led to my involvement in alumni programs, and through those programs I have really enjoyed interacting with the people.

George went on to include his favorite SGA memory, saying  “In Spring 2014, the Government Affairs Committee and Student Services Director Grant Davis led the “Student Fees, Student Freedom” campaign that generated over 4,481 petition signatures, approximately 2,000 e-mails and 1,000 letters that succeeded in defeating two bills introduced in the Tennessee Senate that would have chilled free speech and preempted student self-governance by imposing state requirements on the allocation of students’ own activity fee funds.”

George explained that many skills learned throughout his time in SGA have carried over into his personal and working life. Reflecting on these experiences, George described, “My involvement with the Government Affairs Committee taught me a lot about interacting with elected officials and the practical side of how state government works.” He continued by saying that working with students, faculty and veterans taught him about grassroots values and how community organizing skills are of paramount importance to just about anyone.