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KNOXVILLE — The fond memories of freshman year at the University of Tennessee for a West Tennessee farmer, banker and attorney have yielded $7 million for academic scholarships at his alma mater.

The gift from the estate of Thomas D. Dunlap of Humboldt

Thomas D. Dunlap

establishes a scholarship program for sophomores, juniors and seniors at UT-Knoxville, Acting UT President Eli Fly said.

The gift was announced Friday evening at a meeting of the UT Development Council.

“With this gift from Mr. Dunlap, students have incentive to work hard after they arrive at the university,” Fly said. “This is a wonderful addition to our scholarship program because many of our academic scholarships are directed to first-year students.”

Fly said the number and amount of the grants, which will go to students in the academic top 25 percent of their class, will be determined later.

Jack Williams, UT’s vice president for development and alumni affairs, said Dunlap was awarded the $50 Faculty Freshman Scholarship for 1928-29. Because there was a tie for the award, Dunlap only received $25, but he valued highly the significance of the honor, Williams said.

UT has received $4.5 million of the gift. The balance will come from West Tennessee property, valued at approximately $2.5 million, yet to be sold.

Kimbrough Dunlap Jr., nephew of the late Tom Dunlap and executor of the estate, and his two sons, Kimbrough III and Judson Dunlap, were in Knoxville for the announcement and weekend activities of the Development Council.

Tom Dunlap, who died in the spring of 2001, was a trigonometry student of Andy Holt the first year the future UT president taught school at Humboldt High in 1927-28. He frequently spoke of the influence Holt had on his life, Williams said.

After receiving the bachelor’s degree from UT in 1931, Dunlap enrolled in law school and passed the bar exam after just two years. He later received his law degree from UT.

Following service in Navy intelligence during World War II, Dunlap practiced law in Memphis and was an assistant U. S. Attorney. At that time lawyers were allowed to practice in state courts when they were not handling federal cases. Later, Dunlap joined a brother in strawberry farming near Humboldt, where he became associated with Merchants State Bank.

The UT Development Council was founded during Holt’s UT presidency. It counsels and assists the university in raising private funds to support UT programs. Charles Wharton, executive director of the O’Melveny & Myers law firm in Los Angeles, has served as council president for the past two years. He is a Shelbyville native and a UT engineering graduate.

The council toured Oak Ridge National Laboratory Friday, and business sessions are planned for Saturday. UT President Designate John W. Shumaker spoke to the Development Council Friday.