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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business has announced a $3 million gift from the Boyd Foundation. The gift includes a $1 million endowment to create two distinguished professorships and $2 million to expand the existing Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research Endowment.

The Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research was named for alumni Randy and Jenny Boyd in 2016 to honor their investment in the center. The center’s initial endowment included the creation of the Randy and Jenny Boyd Distinguished Professorship, which is linked to the directorship of the Boyd Center and has been held by Bill Fox since its origination.

“Over the years, resources from the Boyd Endowment have been used to hire new faculty, recruit top graduate students, and support the Boyd Center’s overall research environment,” Fox said. “This latest investment allows us to build on the breadth and quality of the center’s work, including hiring a faculty member who will deepen our strength in researching education, particularly K–12.”

Randy Boyd is president of the UT System and founder and executive chair of Radio Systems Corporation, known for its PetSafe, Invisible Fence, and other pet product brands. He also serves as president of the Boyd Foundation.

“We are deeply grateful to the Boyds for their ongoing support of the Boyd Center and the Haslam College of Business,” said Stephen L. Mangum, dean of the college and Stokely Foundation Leadership Chair. “With this gift, they continue to demonstrate their dedication to changing both individual lives and the economic trajectory of the state of Tennessee through education.”

Carruthers and Harris Appointed to Distinguished Professorships

The endowment’s new distinguished professorship appointments took effect on February 1.

Celeste Carruthers

Celeste K. Carruthers is now the William F. Fox Distinguished Professor of Labor Economics. Since joining the faculty in 2009, Carruthers has established herself as a leader in the economics of education, including serving as editor-in-chief of Economics of Education Review since 2020. With research that spans labor and public economics, from racial wage differences to tax policy impacts, her work has influenced public policy in Tennessee and beyond, particularly in the movement toward free community college.

“We are particularly grateful that Randy and Jenny Boyd are honoring Professor Bill Fox in the naming of the distinguished professorship in labor economics,” Mangum said. “During his tenure at UT, Bill has had an extraordinary impact on policy making in the state of Tennessee through his research and consultation with both legislators and executive branch officials.”


Matt Harris

Matt Harris, who joined the faculty in 2013, has been appointed the Jenny and Randy Boyd Distinguished Professor of Health Economics. His research includes labor and public economics topics such as the effects of tax and expenditure policy. In the area of health economics, his work on the opioid epidemic has made an impact in public policy discussions as well as academia.

“Our family is grateful for the important contributions made by the Boyd Center,” said Randy Boyd. “Celeste and Matt are celebrated as experts in their respective fields, with their work informing decision makers across the country, and Bill’s contribution to Tennessee and across the world is unmatched. His legacy is both widespread and profound. We are thankful for his leadership and friendship.”

About the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research

The Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research is a nonpartisan research hub within the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The center conducts research on national and state economic trends for UT, state agencies, and public and private organizations. It also analyzes and disseminates data on the demography and economy of Tennessee in conjunction with the Tennessee State Data Center.

The Boyd Center’s mission is to research and inform conversations around the key public policy issues of the day. Its faculty engages in important academic research across a wide range of public policy projects, including education, health, e-commerce, taxation, welfare and labor.


Stacy Estep (, 865-974-7881)

Brooks Clark (, 865-974-5471)