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UT Chancellor Beverly Davenport, Peyton Manning, and Robert Lewis, president of the UT Knoxville Alumni Board.

It was a big weekend on Rocky Top for UT alumnus and retired NFL quarterback Peyton Manning.

Manning was honored Saturday at halftime of the UT-Georgia football game in Neyland Stadium for his upcoming induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. He was presented with a Hall of Fame plaque that will remain on permanent display at UT. The official ceremony takes place in New York later this year.

Manning was also recently honored by the UT Knoxville Alumni Board of Directors with the Distinguished Alumnus award—the single highest honor given to an alumnus or alumna. Every year UT’s alumni board honors alumni in various categories.

Manning joins an elite group of recipients who have achieved extraordinary success in their careers, brought credit to UT, and benefited fellow citizens.

“Peyton embodies what it means be an ambassador for our university,” said UT Chancellor Beverly Davenport. “We are so proud to call him a Volunteer.”

Manning earned his degree in 1997 and was the top graduate in the speech communications program in the College of Arts and Sciences. The program is now known as communication studies and is housed in the College of Communication and Information.

Since then, he has captured the attention of the nation not only for his athletic abilities but also for leading his teams with humility and grace.

Manning and his wife, Ashley, have invested in academic and athletic programs at UT. They’ve also met many needs of youth across America through their charitable organization, the PeyBack Foundation.


Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,