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Michael Strickland
Michael Strickland

KNOXVILLE — Michael Strickland, founder and CEO of Bandit Lites Inc., the second-largest event lighting company in the world, has agreed to chair the annual giving campaign for the College of Business Administration at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Strickland is a 1977 graduate of the college.

The college’s annual giving program is part of the Campaign for Tennessee, the university’s $1 billion fundraising effort.

As a member of the University of Tennessee Development Council and UT College of Business Administration’s Campaign Leadership Committee, Strickland regularly emphasizes the importance of helping future business students. As part of his new role, he will educate fellow alumni and friends of the college on the importance of annual giving and the college’s newly created Dean’s Circle giving society, which recognizes donors who gift $1,000 or more to the College Fund for Business Administration. The College Fund is an unrestricted fund that provides the college with the flexibility to meet the current needs of the college that endowment earnings do not provide for. Unrestricted dollars are vital in providing for the continued success of the college.

“We are extremely appreciative of Michael’s support of the college and especially for this new role he is serving,” said Jan Williams, dean of the College of Business Administration. “Unrestricted annual giving allows us to continue providing value to our students despite the current economic conditions.”

“Each of us has an obligation to put the next generation in the best possible position to succeed,” Strickland said, “and gifts to the College of Business Administration ensure the success of this and future generations. It is a privilege to be able to assist others as we all work together to make the world a better place. I am very excited about chairing the annual giving campaign for the college.”

The Campaign for Tennessee — the most ambitious effort in the university’s 214-year history — places UT among the ranks of the nation’s largest public and private institutions that have sought this level of private support.

The campaign, which launched its silent phase in 2005, secures private gifts that, in turn, will contribute substantially to the distinct, but linked, campuses in the UT system. Funds raised through the campaign will directly support the objectives of UT’s strategic plan. Among those objectives are improved student access and success, research and economic development, outreach and globalization.

C O N T A C T :

Cindy Raines, (865-974-4359,