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KNOXVILLE — Community leaders Jim and Natalie Haslam have committed $5 million to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, to fund the newly established Haslam Scholars program and endowed professorships.

Jim and Natalie Haslam
Jim and Natalie Haslam
The Haslams, both 1952 UT graduates, are widely known for their civic and philanthropic work and support of the university. Jim Haslam is chairman of the board of Pilot Travel Centers LLC and chairman of the board and president of Pilot Corp., both headquartered in Knoxville.

“No family has been more supportive to UT than the Haslams and words cannot properly express our gratitude,” Chancellor Loren Crabtree said. “We are so grateful for their continued support of our academic programs. They recognize UT Knoxville’s potential to become a leading public research university, and these gifts place us at the forefront of recruiting efforts for the best and brightest in students and faculty.”

This gift is in addition to the $32.5-million gift the Haslams committed last year benefiting several Knoxville campus programs including the College of Business Administration, School of Music, the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy and UT athletics. The Haslams’ total giving to the university’s capital campaign is now $37.5 million.

Half of the new gift, $2.5 million, is committed to the newly established Haslam Family Scholars Program, and the other $2.5 million is devoted to the Haslam Family Professorship/Chair Endowment. Both programs were established by Jimmy and Dee Haslam, son and daughter-in-law of Jim and Natalie Haslam, as part of a $10 million gift announced just last week.

“We were so excited by Jimmy and Dee’s vision for the academic advancement of the university, and wanted to contribute to these new progressive programs they’ve established,” said Jim Haslam. “We are so proud as a family to show our support for UT, an institution that has meant so much to all of us.”

The Haslam Scholars program is a premier honors program that will provide unprecedented opportunities and scholarships for 15 of the nation’s top scholars beginning in the fall of 2008. The program is similar to the prestigious Morehead-Cain Scholarship at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, or the Jefferson Scholarship at the University of Virginia.

Haslam Scholars will be part of an intimate study group mentored by top UT faculty. The interdisciplinary curriculum and experiences will focus on study abroad and support a research thesis project.

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.

Students interested in being Haslam Scholars must apply by Nov. 1. The first class of Haslam Scholars will enter UT as freshmen in the fall of 2008. Students will be chosen based on scholastic achievement, leadership experience and potential, maturity and seriousness of purpose, and evidence of special talents and skills.

The Haslam Family Professorship/Chair Endowment will allow the university to recruit and retain top-notch faculty. The earnings will provide support for faculty professorships and chairs.

The gifts will be counted as part of the Campaign for Tennessee, a multiphase fund-raising effort that will extend through 2011.

Beth Gladden, media relations, (865-974-9008 or