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A record 47,182 donors gave to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, last year, which helped fund student scholarships, hire new faculty, make campus improvements, and support other enhancements to students’ educational experience.

Those donors contributed $173,746,126 during the 2018–19 fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2019, and helped the university hit its $1.1 billion Join the Journey campaign goal in November—two years ahead of schedule.

“I am inspired by the generosity of our Volunteer family,” said Chancellor Donde Plowman, who took office on July 1. “Already I am meeting students who have been helped through these scholarships and getting to know some of our top faculty who have received these awards and professorships. Every day across campus, I see the impact of the support from our alumni and friends, and it makes me extremely proud.”

Since the 2012 campaign launch, donors have contributed $1.19 billion and established 857 undergraduate scholarship awards, 303 graduate fellowships and scholarships, and 159 faculty awards, professorships, and chairs.

More than half of the donors who gave in the past year were alumni, a total of 25,408. This continues a trend of increased support for scholarships from alumni chapters and councils across the country.

“This year’s record number of donors shows how deeply Volunteers love the University of Tennessee and how invested they are in making sure this is a world-class university,” said Chip Bryant, vice chancellor for advancement. “We are grateful to every donor for their gift, which helps us serve students and faculty and support research.”

More than 7,000 UT students received scholarships from private support, which totaled nearly $20 million, providing access to education, easing financial burdens, and preparing them to enter the workforce.

“I would like UT donors to know that without their contribution to my education, the end result would likely have been much different,” said Benjamin Barnhill, a May 2019 graduate who majored in aerospace engineering. “Without the scholarships I could not have prospered in my undergraduate career in the way that I have, making friends and gaining valuable experience.”

UT raises funds through the University of Tennessee Foundation, an independent nonprofit corporation that seeks to enrich the lives of UT students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends through alumni engagement, financial stewardship, and private investments.

The University of Tennessee Foundation is the preferred channel for all private contributions benefiting faculty and students at the University of Tennessee System. Collectively, UT Knoxville, UT Chattanooga, the UT Health Science Center, UT Martin, and the UT Institute of Agriculture received $282 million in commitments during the 2018–19 fiscal year. The UT Foundation had the highest number of donors in the system’s history at 64,301.


Mallorie Mendence (865-974-5801,