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KNOXVILLE — Four University of Tennessee alumni were honored Friday night for their service and philanthropy.

The annual awards are sponsored by the UT Development Council, a group of alumni and friends who provide leadership and support to UT’s fundraising efforts.

“The individuals we honor tonight have each shown tremendous commitment and dedication to the advancement of our university,” said Jim Powell, chair of the Development Council.

The winners:

-Chad Holliday, chairman and CEO of DuPont, received the Volunteer of the Year-Distinguished Alumnus Award. The award is the highest honor given to an alumnus and was awarded Friday for the first time in the university’s history. It recognizes someone who has excelled at the national or international level in their profession and whose achievements have benefited his or her fellow citizens.

Holliday graduated from UT in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering. In 1998, he was appointed as chairman/CEO for DuPont International. He is only the 18th executive in the company’s 206-year history to hold that position. Holliday’s leadership has led DuPont to a new era of sustainable growth, moving them from a chemical company to a science-based products and services company with revenues of more than $29.4 billion and more than 60,000 employees worldwide.

He is co-chair of the Capital Campaign Leadership Committee for UT’s College of Engineering as well as being a major supporter of programs within that college.

-John Sorey of Naples, Fla., received the Development Council Service award, given to someone who represents exceptional service in the advancement of excellence at UT.

Sorey is a member of the UT Development Council and served as the Council Chair from 2002-04. In that role he led the council during a number of leadership transitions.

Sorey also served on the UT Martin Development Committee and the National Alumni Association. He and his wife established an endowment for the LEAD (Leadership, Education, Application and Discovery) Academy at UT Martin. The $3 million endowment supports seminars, service opportunities and travel-study programs for UT Martin graduates to improve their leadership skills and prepare them for graduate school and job interviews.

-Ralph and Barbara Hamilton of Memphis received the Philanthropist of the Year award. The Hamiltons’ most significant gift has been to UT’s Hamilton Eye Institute, which was named in their honor. The institute is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 10 clinical-care institutes for its educational facilities and is designed to provide patient-friendly care and foster groundbreaking research for future ophthalmologists.

Ralph Hamilton is a professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at the UT Health Science Center, and Barbara is a graduate of Rhodes College and has volunteered at the Methodist Hospital in Germantown for many years. Barbara also served as a trustee at Lambuth University in 2000.

-Peyton Manning received the Haslam Presidential Medal, established in 2006 to recognize an individual who has made outstanding contributions to UT’s philanthropic efforts. The inaugural UT Haslam Presidential Medal was presented last year to Sen. Howard Baker.

Manning was awarded the medal for his distinguished record of supporting philanthropy at UT through exemplary giving, volunteer leadership and service. Manning was unable to attend, but his wife, Ashley Thompson Manning, accepted the award on his behalf.

Since 1998, UT has annually presented the Peyton Manning Scholarship to a first-year student who will participate in UT’s Honors Program. The scholarship is funded from gifts to the university garnered from Manning’s academic awards. Manning established the PeyBack Foundation in 1999 to promote the future success of disadvantaged youth. The foundation has donated more than $3 million to youth organizations in Indiana, Tennessee and Louisiana since its inception. In 2006, Manning announced a $1 million donation to the Campaign for Tennessee for the renovation of Neyland Stadium and the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center.

The awards dinner was funded entirely by private gifts from Development Council members.

The Development Council complements the efforts of the UT Development Office and provides leadership in all aspects of fundraising including personal giving (introductions to potential donors), strategic planning and building networks to broaden UT’s donor base.

UT is currently involved in a $1 billion fundraising campaign. The Campaign for Tennessee is the most ambitious effort in the university’s 214-year history and places UT among the ranks of the nation’s largest public and private institutions that have sought this level of private support.


Beth Gladden, UT media relations, (865) 974-9008,