The Peyton Manning Scholarship, which is awarded to some of the brightest and most dedicated students from across the country, was presented by Manning himself on August 17 to four incoming first-year students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. They will participate in the university’s prestigious Haslam Scholars Program and join 41 past and current recipients of the scholarship, which was endowed by its eponym in 1998.
The scholars are Ivanna Adames, an architecture major from Mission Viejo, California; Christiane Alvarez, a biology major from Knoxville; Jackson “Jack” Duncan of Cleveland, Tennessee, studying economics and political science; and Micah Owens, an industrial engineering major from Cookeville, Tennessee.
Their talents and academic and extracurricular accomplishments represent a broad range of strengths and a degree of commitment that embodies the Volunteer spirit.
During an online reception attended by the scholarship recipients, their families, and UT leadership, Manning spoke about the scholarship program’s significance to him personally.
“I look forward to this every year,” Manning said. “I’m proud of the growth of this scholarship program and all the people who have helped it grow. Choosing from such an incredible group of applicants can be very challenging, and it certainly speaks to the credentials and the potential of the students chosen each year.
“This is just the beginning of the positive impact you will have,” Manning told the scholarship recipients. “I hope you achieve, learn, grow, and positively impact those around you. When your studies at UT are complete, I hope that you, too, will leave this university with the same passion I have.”
Chancellor Donde Plowman seconded Manning’s enthusiasm in congratulating the students, saying their heartfelt ambitions represent the Volunteer spirit.
“You’ve shown community service, leadership, and integrity, and are willing to put your name on things that are important and good,” Plowman said, adding that no other university in the country has an ambassador like Manning.
Owens, who participated in a large number of school, community, and extracurricular club activities while in high school, said the diversity she encountered during her first week as a Peyton Manning Scholar and Haslam Scholar inspired her.
“When I got to UT and began meeting other students I was surprised to find that many—especially the Manning and Haslam Scholars—are not only smart kids but also have diverse passions, just like me,” she said. “Not only that, they are devoted to giving back to their communities. That’s why I’m so grateful to work, study, and live at UT. I’m very grateful to Peyton Manning for this scholarship and, having grown up watching him play football, I can say he’s always been a role model for me.”
For Alvarez, being named a Manning Scholar represents an opportunity to pursue the study of neuroscience under some of the country’s top professors.
“I am so honored to receive this generous support, which enables students like myself to pursue the privilege of higher education unhindered by financial burden,” she said. “I do not take this for granted and will use these resources to grow as a student and give back to the community.”
Adames, the daughter of immigrants from Ukraine and Colombia, thanked Manning for believing in her potential and that of her fellow students. She spoke of her desire to forge a better future for the communities in which she lives.
“I am so honored and humbled to become a Peyton Manning Scholar,” she said. “It truly means the world to me, and I plan to learn, earn, and return, just as he has done.”
Duncan said he looks forward to defining his future over the next four years at UT and thanked Manning for supporting him.
“This will be a defining time for who I am, and I know Mr. Manning is a man of integrity and honor who is intentional about giving back to the community,” he said. “I hope to emulate these same characteristics and apply them to my own life for the benefit of others.”
Mallorie Mendence (865-661-6302, firstname.lastname@example.org)