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UT Knoxville generated 4,993 donors and received more than $1.45 million on November 8 during its one-day Big Orange Give social-media-based giving campaign.

“For the fifth year in a row, our Volunteer family has exceeded our goals for the Big Orange Give campaign,” said Lauren Herbstritt, UT’s director of new media fundraising for annual giving. “We are grateful to our alumni and friends for their enthusiasm for this one-day campaign. Every donation makes a difference and increases funds for student scholarships and support for colleges and programs on campus.”

Students say thank you for Big Orange Give donations.More than 600 current UT students made a gift during the campaign. Donors designated gifts toward their area of passion on campus. Gifts were received from all 50 states as well as Hong Kong, England, and Germany.

Before the Big Orange Give day began, UT alumni Jim and Judi Herbert offered a challenge: if the Vol Nation raised $500,000, they would match that amount with a gift to the English Department’s Writing Center. This gift would significantly expand the tutoring provided to upper-division students in all disciplines, adding thousands of student visits per year to the current average of 15,000 student visits per year.

At 12:55 p.m. on November 8, former UT quarterback Joshua Dobbs, now with the Pittsburgh Steelers, put the Big Orange Give over $500,000.

In addition to the Herberts’ gift, several other generous challenge donations were made:

  • Alumnus Clay Jones (’71) matched the first $100 of all gifts up to a total of $25,000.
  • Mason Jones (’04, ’07) gave an additional $5,000 when the university met the challenge of receiving 500 new donors.
  • The Greek organizations with the most donors during Big Orange Give received an additional $5,000 from Ron (’81) and Don (’90) Frieson. Phi Beta Sigma, with 315 gifts, and Pi Beta Phi, with 399, were the winners.
  • Pride of the Southland Band supporters Randy (’68) and Pat (’66) Doerter matched $25,000 in donations to the Band Service Scholarship Endowment.
  • Law alumnus Rick Rose (’71, ’74) made a two-to-one match for donations of up to $250 to the UT law fund, to a total of $25,000.
  • Professor Emeritus Bill Bass matched $10,000 in donations to UT Libraries.
  • Tickle College of Engineering alumnus Mike Dobb (’95) matched the first $100 of gifts to engineering funds to a total of $10,000.

Students and faculty members feel the impact of the Big Orange Give every day in many ways. The project has helped fund 16 projects on VOLstarter, the university’s crowdfunding website benefiting student travel, research, and other initiatives.

Big Orange Give has also helped provide for new professorships, faculty support, and research.

“It was exciting to see the power of many gifts come together to help us reach our Big Orange Give goal. This day showcased how every dollar and every donor truly make an impact in the university’s mission of changing the lives of current and future students,” said Chip Bryant, vice chancellor for development and alumni affairs.

Although the 24 hours of the Big Orange Give has passed, alumni and friends of the university can always contribute through the Join the Journey campaign website,

About Join the Journey

As the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, aspires to become a preeminent institution, the $1.1 billion Join the Journey campaign will assist in positioning the university among the nation’s elite. The comprehensive fundraising campaign focuses on increasing support for undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships, faculty support, college priorities, and athletics. The funds raised will create a student experience that reaches beyond the ordinary, shaping the next generation of leaders for the state, nation, and world.


Brooks Clark (865-974-5471,