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KNOXVILLE –- Fifteen of the nation’s top students have accepted the invitation to attend the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, next year and be part of the inaugural class of Haslam Scholars.

More than 1,100 students met the eligibility criteria for the Haslam Scholars program and more than 200 students conducted interviews with the program director and associate director. The Haslam Scholars Program is a premier honors program akin to the Jefferson Scholars Program at University of Virginia and the Morehead-Cain Scholars Program at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

The 2008 Haslam Scholars are:

• Alex AuBuchon, Henry County High School, Paris, Tenn. AuBuchon, who plans to major in English, has been active in speech, theater and music.

• Morgan Baltz, Mount Juliet High School, Mount Juliet, Tenn. Baltz, who plans to major in chemical engineering, is president of her school’s science and Spanish clubs, and she has been a competitive dancer for 15 years.

• Anna-Lise Burnette, Seymour High School, Seymour, Tenn. Burnette is one of two National Merit Finalists in Sevier County. A writer, poet and singer, she plans to major in cultural anthropology or English.

• Kelley Callaway, Bearden High School, Knoxville, Tenn. Callaway, who plans to major in pre-med, biomedical engineering, is a softball player.

• Caitlin Conley, Christ Presbyterian Academy, Franklin, Tenn. Conley, who plans to major in pre-med, chemistry, enjoys soccer and science.

• Margaret Conley, Daniel Boone High School, Jonesborough, Tenn. Conley, who grew up on a family-owned dairy farm, plans to major in animal science and pursue a career as a small animal veterinarian. She has been active in Tennessee’s Girls State program, 4-H and her school’s soccer team.

• Charlie Edwards, Lawrence County High School, Lawrenceburg, Tenn. Edwards, who plans to major in enterprise management, has been active in Fellowship of Christian Athletes, student government and Key Club. He is a member his school’s chorus and will sing at Carnegie Hall this summer.

• Aeron Glover, Whitehaven High School, Memphis, Tenn. Glover, who plans to major in either mechanical or computer engineering, is president of his school’s Future Business Leaders of America. He also runs track.

• Alexander Happ, Westminster Academy, Germantown, Tenn. Happ, who plans to major in math, enjoys singing and athletics.

• Chelsea Knotts, Ripley High School, Ripley, W.Va. Knotts plans to major in exercise science and eventually attend medical school. She is a runner and dancer.

• Bert Ruyten, Tullahoma High School, Tullahoma, Tenn. Ruyten is interested in music and engineering. He also enjoys writing, photography and public speaking.

• Candance Swanigan, Central High School, Memphis, Tenn. Swanigan plans to major in psychology. She enjoys tutoring and helping teachers.

• Elizabeth Tiller, American Christian Academy, Tuscaloosa, Ala. Tiller is captain of her school’s track and cross-country teams and enjoys cooking and reading. She plans to major in Spanish.

• Brittany Vasquez, Morristown-Hamblen High School West, Morristown, Tenn. Vasquez is the captain of her school’s varsity girls’ soccer team. She plans to major in forensic pathology and international relations, and she wants to join the Peace Corps after she graduates from college.

• Mark Walker, Oak Ridge High School, Oak Ridge, Tenn. Walker spent seven years living in Cardiff, Wales. He plays the piano and cello and enjoys ballroom dancing. He has participated in Model UN and student council. He wants to major in pre-med.

“We are extremely pleased with this first class of Haslam Scholars. Their talents and interests are diverse, and their academic credentials are extraordinary. They look forward to being a part of UT, and we know UT will benefit from having them,” said Steven P. Dandaneau, associate provost and director of University Honors.

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

Haslam 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 travel to present their work.

Haslam Scholars also will receive a Chancellor’s scholarship -– now the top academic scholarship -– which provides annual award amounts between $7,000 and $11,000.

The UT program was created with $2.5 million from Jimmy and Dee Haslam. 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.

Jim and Natalie Haslam contributed an additional $2.5 million to support the program. Jim Haslam is chairman of the board of Pilot Travel Centers LLC and chairman of the board and president of Pilot Corp.


Amy Blakely, (865) 974-5034, amy.blakely@tennessee.edu