University and college officials thanked the Haslam family for their $50 million transformational gift to the former College of Business Administration made in honor of the family’s patriarch, James A. Haslam.
Governor Bill Haslam introduced his father, the honoree Jim Haslam. Haslam recalled his childhood in Pennsylvania and Florida, his time as a UT football player and business student, his time in the Army and how he built Pilot Flying J. He noted that what he learned at UT was instrumental in his success.
During the ceremony, students Claire Coker, a junior in economics, and Wayne Taylor, a junior in accounting, shared how the Haslam family gift will impact them and their peers and help prepare them for a future in the global marketplace.
Officials presented Haslam with a cloth bag filled with 3,299 thank you notes from students, faculty, and staff of the newly named college.
The college also unveiled two gifts for Haslam, a plaque detailing Haslam’s contribution to the school and the community and a commissioned portrait of his likeness—both of which will hang in the Haslam Business Building.
A release of orange and white balloons and streamers concluded the ceremony.
The UT Board of Trustees voted last month to name the former College of Business Administration for James A. Haslam II, following the family’s landmark gift to the college. The change marked the first time in history that UT has named a college in recognition of an alumnus and donor. The gift was made by Jim Haslam and his wife Natalie, together with their children and their spouses—Jimmy and Dee Haslam, Ann Haslam Bailey and Steve Bailey, and Bill and Crissy Haslam—as well as the Haslams’ five grandchildren and their spouses—Whitney and J.W. Johnson, Cynthia and David Arnholt, Hannah and Will Haslam, Annie and David Colquitt, and Leigh and Matt Avery.
The naming and celebration come during the college’s yearlong commemoration of its 100th anniversary. The $50 million investment brings the college into an elite group of America’s top named business schools. Across the nation, transformational gifts that have resulted in the naming of business colleges have set the stage for significant enhancements to all measures of academic quality and student achievement.