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Peyton Manning and John Haas

Peyton Manning has donated $1 million to UT to establish the John Haas Student Experiential Learning Endowment.

The gift honors John Haas, a longtime director and associate professor in the College of Communication and Information’s School of Communications Studies. As one of Manning’s professors and his advisor at UT, Haas played an instrumental role in Manning’s college education.

“Exceptional teachers transform your way of learning by challenging and motivating you while teaching more than just a subject,” said Manning. “For me and so many others, that teacher was Dr. John Haas.

“Dr. Haas’ passion for his students and their success makes him one of those remarkable teachers who change how you experience the classroom. I’m very proud to establish the John Haas Student Experiential Learning Endowment in his honor.”

The endowment will support student trips, study abroad learning, internships, and other opportunities for students in the Communication Studies program to grow and develop outside the classroom.

The $1 million gift adds to the significant donations Manning has made previously to UT.

“Peyton continues to give back to the university both with his valuable time and with significant gifts,” said Chip Bryant, vice chancellor for advancement. “The profound impact he has made on this campus will continue to support current and future Vols for years to come.”

Following the announcement of the endowment, Haas was both surprised and honored by Manning’s gift as it was given to him during a special faculty retreat.

“Students learn so much outside the classroom and the experiences they have change their views of the world,” said Haas. “These experiences are key to getting them ready for success and this gift reflects Peyton’s commitment to educational experiences for our students. His pursuit of excellence has also inspired me. He’s served as an example for all of us.”

Haas joined UT in 1989 and currently teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in organizational communication, interpersonal communication, and research methods. His work has appeared in many academic journals. In addition, Haas has served as principal investigator or co-principal investigator on research grants from agencies such as the US Department of Energy, the US Department of Agriculture, and the Engineering Information Foundation.

Manning, who graduated from UT in 1997 after leading the Vols to an SEC football championship and went on to a storied NFL career, remains steadfast in his dedication to the Volunteer community, providing opportunities for the next generation of students.

Media coverage: News Sentinel, August 27; Daily Beacon, August 24; WATE, August 27; Associated Press, August 27


Mallorie Mendence (865-974-5801,

Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,