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With a gift of $500,000, Suzanne S. Masters, a 1989 graduate of UT’s School of Advertising and Public Relations, has established the DeForrest Jackson Endowed Professorship, named after her favorite professor.

DeForrest Jackson
DeForrest Jackson

The gift, tied for the second largest ever received by the College of Communication and Information, creates the first professorship for the School of Advertising and Public Relations.

Jackson came to UT after retiring as communications director for Cola-Cola’s corporate offices in Atlanta. He earned his master’s degree in communications from UT and went on to serve as an associate professor of advertising until his retirement in 1996. He died in 2013.

“I am excited about this endowment and the hopeful future that it holds for the School of Advertising and Public Relations,” said Masters. “Mr. Jackson had a dynamic personality when I attended UT, and he engaged the whole classroom with his expertise and wit. I know the impact that excellent faculty can have on the life of a student.”

The Jackson Professorship will be held by tenured faculty members on a three-year rotating basis.

“The endowment earnings will allow the college to recognize and retain outstanding faculty members who embody not only who DeForrest Jackson was but, more importantly, how he molded the lives of countless students during his tenure,” said Dean Mike Wirth of the College of Communication and Information.

Jackson served in the US Navy in World War II and the Korean conflict. He had a long and multifaceted career at Coca-Cola in product development, advertising, marketing, and promotions before becoming director of communications. After taking early retirement in 1981, he came to UT to study and then work.

“We are incredibly grateful to Suzanne Masters for this remarkable gift,” said Wirth. “It will have a profound impact on the quality of the school and college as we continue to build momentum through our Investing in the Journey to the Top 25 campaign, which launched in November.”

To date, CCI has raised $11.4 million of its $15 million campaign goal.


Brooks Clark (865-974-5471,