KNOXVILLE (UT News Release) –- Jimmy and Dee Haslam have donated $10 million to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, to benefit two prominent university programs, fund endowed professorships and create a prestigious honors scholarship.
The Knoxville couple's gift will help UT strengthen its top academic offerings by benefiting the Marco Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and forensic anthropology. The new Haslam Scholars program will allow the university to recruit the nation's most talented students for an interdisciplinary, international learning experience.
Jimmy Haslam is president and chief executive officer of Pilot Travel Centers. Dee Haslam is CEO of RIVR Media and also chairs the UT Development Council. The Haslams are chairs of the Campaign for Tennessee for the Knoxville Campus.
"Students and faculty are what make UT strong, inviting and vibrant. We are happy to create the Haslam Scholars program to bring some of the nation's best students to the UT campus. It is our hope that the endowed professorships help the university attract leading scholars," Jimmy Haslam said. "Marco and forensic anthropology are unique programs that already have garnered national acclaim. We are pleased to help them grow."
Chancellor Loren Crabtree said, "We want to thank the Haslams for supporting two excellent programs that have brought, and will continue to bring, national attention to UT. Also, by creating the Haslam Scholars and endowing professorships, the Haslams will help us reach new heights in academics and research."
Of the $10 million, $3 million will be used to create the Jimmy and Dee Haslam Marco Endowment in the College of Arts and Sciences. Earnings from the endowment will provide support for scholarly research and for the graduate student programs of the Marco Institute.
"This is another great step for the Marco Institute, which recently had one of its professors, Jay Rubenstein, awarded a MacArthur Foundation genius grant," said Robert Bast, Riggsby Director of the Marco Institute and associate professor of history. "The Haslams' endowment provides extraordinary means for the Marco Institute to move forward in building programs of international caliber while continuing to engage in the teaching, outreach and service that a marks a great public university,"
Another $2 million will go to the Forensic Anthropology Center, with $750,000 earmarked for a building to be constructed for the Anthropological Research Facility, known as the Body Farm. The remainder will create an endowment with the earnings used elsewhere in the program.
"We are extremely grateful to the Haslams for recognizing our program which already has been extremely successful, both in academics and applied work -- and for providing the means for our program to grow and further enhance its academic reputation," said Richard Jantz, anthropology professor and director of the center.
Proceeds from the endowment may be used to create a post-doctoral fellowship.
Though its location is yet to be determined, the building is expected to house a morgue, a facility where students can work with human remains and a classroom.
Another $2.5 million will go to into an endowment from which earnings will be used to create and fund the Haslam Scholars program, a premier honors program that will provided unprecedented opportunities and scholarships. Recipients, who also will qualify for other university scholarships that pay for their cost of attendance, will receive laptop computers, a paid study-abroad experience, a research stipend for a senior thesis project and a travel stipend to present their thesis at a national or international program.
The remaining $2.5 million will be used to create the Haslam Family Professorship and Chair Endowment. Earnings will allow the university to recruit and retain top-notch faculty.
The gifts will be counted as part of the Campaign for Tennessee, a multiphase fund-raising effort that will extend through 2011.