The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Communication and Information has appointed Peyton Manning a professor of practice starting in the fall 2023 term.
Manning is a nationally recognized media personality, entrepreneur, sports commentator and former professional athlete. As part of his appointment, Manning will join select classes during the academic year as a featured expert, bringing significant industry experience to the classroom and working alongside the college’s nationally recognized faculty to provide transformative learning experiences for CCI students.
“There is no other ambassador for our college and university like Peyton Manning, and we are proud to welcome him to the college’s faculty,” said Joseph Mazer, dean of the College of Communication and Information. “Peyton is a true Volunteer, and I look forward to our students gaining invaluable knowledge from him as we continue to prepare the next generation of communication and information leaders.”
Manning graduated from UT in 1997 with a degree in speech communication after leading the Vols to an SEC football championship. He went on to a storied NFL career, launched the entertainment company Omaha Productions and has remained steadfast in his dedication to the Volunteer community.
“My time as a student in the College of Communication and Information was a foundational experience during which I learned critical skills and messaging techniques that I continue to put to use almost daily,” Manning said. “I look forward to working with the college’s talented faculty and directly with students in an effort to ensure they are well prepared for their future careers.”
Bringing Industry Experience to the Classroom
Manning will partner with CCI faculty and teach a variety of topics that align with the college’s curriculum including sports reporting, video production and performance, leadership and communication, and public speaking.
In addition to successful college and professional football careers, Manning appears in numerous commercials and hosts and produces shows for ESPN+, ESPN2 and NBC. He has served as host of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” guest voiced (with his brothers Eli and Cooper) on an episode of “The Simpsons” and voiced Guapo in the 2017 movie “Ferdinand.”
In 2020, Manning launched Omaha Productions, a company that focuses on developing content that champions hard work, encourages the pursuit of passion and celebrates community. On his show “Peyton’s Places,” a documentary series about football on ESPN+, Manning visits locations connected to NFL history and interviews players, coaches and celebrities.
Manning hosted and served as executive producer of a 2021 revival of the NBC quiz show “College Bowl,” with his brother Cooper as his sidekick. That same year, he and his brother Eli began hosting an alternative broadcast of “Monday Night Football” called “ManningCast” on ESPN2 and ESPN+.
A Legacy of Giving Back to the College of Communication and Information
As a UT alumnus, Manning has made several impactful contributions to the university and college. Manning’s philanthropic support of the college hit a full-circle moment in 2018, when he donated $1 million to establish the John Haas Student Experiential Learning Endowment to honor the former director of the School of Communication Studies. Haas served as one of Manning’s professors and his academic adviser at UT. The endowment supports student trips, study abroad, internships and other opportunities for communication studies students to grow and develop outside the classroom.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic when classes at UT had moved online, Manning surprised a senior CCI capstone class by dropping in to one of their classes via Zoom. He was the first of several alumni to take part in the VFL Class Crash series meant to encourage students to keep excelling in their classes.
Manning’s student support spans the university. In 1998, he established the Peyton Manning Scholarship, a competitive four-year opportunity for some of the brightest first-year UT students. Since its inception, the scholarship has benefited over 50 recipients. In addition to scholarship support, Manning provides internships through Omaha Productions to UT journalism and electronic media students, giving them hands-on experience and enhancing their knowledge within the industry.
Manning also serves as an honorary member of the college’s Board of Visitors, an alumni group that advises the college on preparing today’s students and tomorrow’s communication and information leaders. In recognition of his service to the college, Manning received the 2007 Donald G. Hileman Distinguished Alumni Award, the college’s top alumni honor.
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