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UT’s second annual “Be a Hero” Day was a great success. Some 350 alumni and friends participated in the special day on April 27 to support student, faculty, and staff UT projects via VOLstarter, UT’s crowdfunding site.

In all, donors contributed close to $18,500 to various projects, fully funding seven of them. Those projects included several scholarships, an engineering mentor program, the UT Farmers Market, and a program to help decrease the homeless cat population.

UT’s Latino Alumni Council posted a project on VOLstarter seeking $500 to create a Latino Alumni Council scholarship. Because of the successful “Be a Hero” Day campaign, the project exceeded its goal, raising $651. The council’s scholarship will be available to a UT student who is a member of the Latin American Student Organization or Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

“Thanks to the contributions to the Latino Alumni Scholarship,” said Roberto Martinez-Vilchis, president of the Latino Alumni Council, “we are able to make a difference in a young student’s life.”

Throughout the day, UT encouraged alumni and friends to not only support worthy projects , but post pictures on social media of themselves wearing orange capes and sharing why they chose to be a “Be a Hero Day.”

“‘Be a Hero’ Day is a fun way for alumni and friends to show their support for UT,” said Haylee Marshall, UT’s senior director of alumni affairs and advancement. “Every gift, no matter the size, brings us closer to our goal of becoming a Top 25 public research university. We’re lucky to have such supportive alumni.”

To learn more about the impact of “Be a Hero” Day and updates on current VOLstarter projects, be sure to follow UT Knoxville Alumni on Twitter (@tennalum), Instagram (tennalum), and Facebook (UT Knoxville Alumni), or visit the VOLstarter website.


Brooks Clark (865-974-5471,