Linda Hampton Starnes (’82)

Category: Alumni Service | Awards

Linda Hampton Starnes has been actively involved in the disability community throughout her adult life as a special educator, parent, advocate, and volunteer. As a public speaker and community advocate, she presents at conferences and events across the country on a broad spectrum of topics related to disability, education, and complex care issues, at times presenting with one or both of her now adult children.

Starnes graduated with high honors from the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences in 1982 with a BS in special and elementary education. She served for five years as a special education consultant and content master teacher in Monroe County, Tennessee, and Texas.

While her husband, Tom (’83), pursued his MBA at Harvard University, Starnes worked with Dick Thornburgh, the director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She then served as confidential assistant to Thornburgh from 1988 to 1991 in Washington, DC, after he was named US attorney general under President Ronald Reagan and President H.W. Bush. Between 1991 and 1993, she served as a special assistant for the America 2000 initiative under Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander at the US Department of Education.

Starnes has held leadership positions on many local, regional, and national boards of disability nonprofits, health-care organizations, and public education and higher education institutions, including two terms on the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. She proudly serves on the UT Alumni Board of Directors and as an emeritus member of the CEHHS Dean’s Board of Advisors, of which she is a former chair. Starnes was also a member of UT’s Task Force on Access, Inclusion, and Disability several years ago. In 2013, she was inducted into the Educators Hall of Honor at UT alongside her mother and grandmother. She also received the inaugural Outstanding Community Advocate Award from CEHHS at UT.
Linda Hampton Starnes
2016 Alumni Service Award Winner