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University of Tennessee, Knoxville, alumni rallied behind their alma mater in April and May to raise $58,253 during the 2021 Alumni Scholarship Challenge. With a total of 430 alumni contributing 498 individual gifts, this year’s support surpassed all previous years and nearly doubled that of 2017, when the challenge began.

“Being awarded this scholarship is an honor and proves to me that I am noticed as a member of a community and not just a number in the system,” said Kevonna Cook, a rising sophomore studying kinesiology and exercise science and a recipient of the Black Alumni Council scholarship.

Central Savannah River Area Alumni Chapter Board (near Aiken, SC) with their scholarship recipient. 

During the challenge, UT alumni chapters and councils each received a fund-raising goal. This year, the first groups to reach their goals were the Birmingham Alumni Chapter and Army ROTC Alumni Council. Those with the most gifts were the Black Alumni Council, with 56, and the Birmingham Alumni Chapter, with 41.

This year’s records for the most funds contributed are held by the Black Alumni Council, which gave $6,499, and the Seattle Alumni Chapter, which gave $6,325.

“I am always amazed by the enthusiasm of our alumni and grateful for the way they stand behind our students,” said Duane Wiles, associate vice chancellor of alumni affairs. “This program has grown each year since its inception, and that speaks volumes about the Volunteer spirit being alive and well among graduates of this great university.”

Chapter and council scholarships play a vital role in promoting diversity at the university as they help provide students from specific geographic regions and affinity groups affordable tuition.

When the Alumni Scholarship Challenge began, alumni contributed $29,668 toward scholarships. Gifts through the challenge have nearly doubled in just four years.


Lindsey Owen (865-974-6375,

Gerhard Schneibel (865-974-9299,