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A $50 Million Naming Gift For Tennessee’s B-School

Jim Haslam

Jim Haslam

For the first time in its history, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has named a college in recognition of an alumnus and donor.

The Haslam family, of Knoxville, announced today a landmark gift of $50 million to the UT College of Business Administration. The gift was made in honor of the family’s patriarch, James A. Haslam.

The UT Board of Trustees voted today (Oct. 3) to name the college the James A. Haslam II College of Business.

Haslam is a 1952 graduate of the college, former vice chair of the UT Board of Trustees and a UT Distinguished Alumnus. A former Vol football captain, Haslam founded the Pilot Corp. LLC, which is now Pilot Flying J. Pilot Flying J is the largest operator of travel centers and travel plazas in North America and one of the largest privately held companies in the United States.

“It’s a blessing for us to be in the position to make this kind of impact on our beloved alma mater,” said James A. Haslam. “We are excited about the direction of the university and firmly believe that this is a great investment in both advancing the quality of education at UT and improving the quality of life across our great state.”

The gift is being made by Jim and Natalie Haslam and their children and spouses, Jimmy and Dee Haslam, Ann Haslam Bailey and Steve Bailey, and Bill and Crissy Haslam, along with the Haslams’ five grandchildren and their spouses, Whitney and J.W. Johnson, Cynthia and David Arnholt, Hannah and Will Haslam, Annie and David Colquitt, and Leigh and Matt Avery.

This historic development comes during the college’s yearlong celebration of its 100th anniversary. The $50 million gift is from three generations of the Haslam family and brings the college into an elite group of America’s top named business schools. Across the nation, transformational gifts that have resulted in the naming of business colleges have set the stage for significant enhancements to all measures of academic quality and student achievement.

“Today is a historic and wonderful day. We are so thankful for the Haslam family’s support of our goals and for how deeply they care about our university,” said UT Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek in a statement. “This gift, in combination with the investments of other alumni and friends, positions the Haslam College of Business at the forefront for thought leadership, big ideas and student talent.”

The new funding will be used to advance college priorities, which include recruiting and retaining top faculty, increasing research, enhancing economic development, and supporting student achievement through scholarships and other program enhancements. It also helps fuel the university’s goal of becoming a Top 25 public research university.

“Jim’s exemplary leadership, consistent adherence to strong core values, selfless service and passion for excellence represent our college’s values,” said Steve Mangum, dean and Stokely Leadership Chair in a statement. “We are honored that our college will bear his name forever.”

A previous gift from Jim and Natalie Haslam helped to complete and furnish the college’s technologically advanced modern facility. The building was named the James A. Haslam II Business Building when it opened in 2009.

A public celebration will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 14, at the Haslam Business Building, 1000 Volunteer Blvd. The college’s annual Alumni Awards Gala and Centennial Celebration will follow that evening.

The Haslam College of Business is one of UT’s largest and serves 5,500 undergraduate and graduate students. About 20 percent of UT’s undergraduate degrees are granted to business majors. Founded as the School of Commerce in 1914, the college is now home to six departments, nine research centers and institutes, and a full slate of graduate and executive education programs.

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.