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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has established the Haslam Scholars – a premier honors program offering unprecedented opportunities for 15 of the nation’s top students.

The program was created with $2.5 million from Jimmy and Dee Haslam. Jim and Natalie Haslam contributed an additional $2.5 million to support the program last week.

Dee and Jimmy HaslamHaslam Scholars will be part of an intimate study group mentored by top UT faculty. Program benefits include a $1,500 laptop computer and a study-abroad experience valued at $4,000, as well as up to $5,500 to support a senior research thesis and presentation.

Haslam Scholars will also receive the Chancellor’s scholarship – now the top academic scholarship – to cover tuition and fees, room and board, and other expenses.

The Haslam Scholars Program is similar to the Jefferson Scholars Program (University of Virginia) and the Morehead-Cain Scholars Program (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill).

Selection criteria include scholastic achievement, leadership potential, maturity and seriousness of purpose, and special talents.

Interested students who will be entering freshmen in the fall of 2008 must apply by Nov. 1 for early admission to the UT Chancellor’s Honors Program. For more information and deadlines, see

The contribution from Jimmy and Dee Haslam is part of a $10 million gift that also provides $3 million for the Marco Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, $2 million for the Forensic Anthropology Center, and $2.5 million to establish the Haslam Family Professorship/Chair Endowment. For more about the gift and programs it will support, see

Jimmy Haslam is president and CEO of Pilot Travel Centers. Dee Haslam is CEO of RIVR Media and also chairs the UT Development Council. The Haslams chair the Campaign for Tennessee for the Knoxville campus.

The contribution from Jim and Natalie Haslam was part of a $5 million gift that also included $2.5 million for the Haslam Family Professorship/Chair Endowment. Jim Haslam is chairman of the Board of Pilot Travel Centers LLC and chairman of the board and president of Pilot Corp.

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