Dwight Hutchins is making a place in University of Tennessee, Knoxville, history, thanks to a planned gift of more than $10 million to support the Fred D. Brown Jr. Minority Engineering Scholarship.
“I am honored to be able to help the university and support its mission of bringing education and opening new possibilities to its students,” said Hutchins, a native of Rome, Georgia. “I have benefited more than I ever could have imagined from the mentorship of Fred Brown, and I see this as a way to return some of that benefit to continue to serve others. This is one way I can repay all that has happened in my career—one made possible by my engineering education from the University of Tennessee and the experiences that I have had there.”
Hutchins has spent nearly 26 years at information services giant Accenture, including nearly 10 years in Singapore, where he serves as Asia Pacific managing director of strategy consulting practice for products. He has been elected chair of the Board of Governors of the American Chamber of Commerce a record four times.
The scholarship program was established in the college to help support engineering students from historically underrepresented populations. It honors Brown, who served from 1975 to 1985 as the first director of the college office now known as the Office of Diversity Programs.
Hutchins, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1986, was a member of the program—known until its 1999 renaming as the Tennessee Minority Engineering Scholarship Program—under Brown’s leadership. In fact, Brown recruited him to UT as a high school junior. Hutchins enrolled at UT in what would have been his senior year of high school and has continued going strong ever since.
Now, in true Volunteer spirit, he is helping the college that gave him his start and boosting opportunities for countless future students. It is the latest chapter in Hutchins’s long history of support for his alma mater, including serving on the Tickle College of Engineering’s Board of Advisors and challenging other alumni to give back to the university.
“Dwight’s support of this university has always been phenomenal, and this most recent gift will help give deserving students a chance to pursue their goals,” said Chancellor Donde Plowman. “These scholarships will enable generations of future engineers to be able to shape the world around them, making the impact of this new funding both immediate and ongoing.”
For the college, the planned gift is seen as both a validation that it has prepared its alumni well for life after college and a commitment to coming generations of engineers.
“This historic and transformational gift will help TCE continue to provide the highest quality education to the best students from all backgrounds and financial means,” said Matthew Mench, dean and Wayne T. Davis Dean’s Chair of the college. “Dwight is the living embodiment of the success that students can have when given the proper support, and this new investment that he is making in the college will have a deep impact on our students—and ultimately on the engineering profession—by making the dream of an engineering education more accessible.”
Hutchins said the Office of Diversity Programs continues to be a critical part of the college experience for many students and that he hopes his support can solidify its role on campus and honor Brown’s memory.
“Fred was an extraordinary person to be around,” said Hutchins. “He brought out the best in students, and under his leadership the Office of Diversity Programs came to be a foundation, a home for historically underrepresented students. I credit him with a lot of my success, and many others would say the same.”
The office is open for participation to all engineering students. Its current director, Travis Griffin, was quick to praise Hutchins and excited about what the gift means for students.
“Education is such an important thing as it can be a gateway to a better life, better employment prospects, better outcomes in a lot of areas,” he said. “By specifically targeting scholarships as an area that he wants to support, this gift will be beneficial for an untold number of students, changing their lives in ways that they can’t even imagine. He’s giving the gift of an education, and there is no way to overstate the importance of what that means.”
After graduating from UT, Hutchins earned an MBA from Northwestern University in 1991 and a master’s in public administration from Harvard University in 1996.
Before going to Singapore, he lived in Washington, DC, where he was global managing director of Accenture’s health and public service strategy practice.
Hutchins and his wife, Paz, have one daughter, Belen.
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