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Outside view of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville's Natalie L. Haslam College of Music

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s College of Music will be named the Natalie L. Haslam College of Music, following approval by the Board of Trustees during its meeting that ended June 25.

The recognition is in honor of alumna Natalie L. Haslam, a member of the Haslam family, which is among the university’s most generous benefactors.

Natalie L. Haslam
Natalie L. Haslam

“I am not a musician, but music has always meant a lot to me,” said Haslam. “If we are lucky, music is a part of our lives at almost every turn – from the church services and weddings we attend, to football, basketball and other sports functions, and even to the parties, movies, plays and social activities in our lives. There’s always music. At the University of Tennessee, we are blessed to have an amazing music program, and Jim and I appreciate that very much. I’m honored to have my name associated with it.”

The college resides within a state-of-the-art facility, which in 2013 unified all music programs under one roof. Formally established in 2023 as an independent college — having evolved from the School of Music — it is the first college of music at a public university in Tennessee and the first in the Southeastern Conference. It is the fourth named college in UT’s 230-year history, joining the Haslam College of Business, the Herbert College of Agriculture and the Tickle College of Engineering.

“Natalie Haslam’s love for her alma mater and her appreciation for music and the arts have been both an inspiration and a benefit to us all. I am grateful for the generations of Volunteers who will hone their talents at the Natalie L. Haslam College of Music and who will pursue lives and careers that continue to extend the joy of music to others,” said Chancellor Donde Plowman.

Impacting the Music Economy

The generous gift from the Haslam family will set the stage for a bold expansion and drive the college’s continued growth as a leader in the music economy.

“Transforming our school into a college has not only been a pivotal development for our university and students, but it has elevated music across the state. Now, with this gift, we can go from exceptional to extraordinary,’” said Jeffrey Pappas, Natalie L. Haslam Founding Dean of the college. “The Haslams’ generosity and steadfast support over the years has made such a transformational impact on everyone affiliated with the college. We are all honored to bear Mrs. Haslam’s name and carry on her legacy for generations to come.”

Endowment earnings will provide for scholarships, student and faculty support, and maintenance and improvements to the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center. They will also allow the college to continue to enhance current degree offerings and expand into other innovative experiences and partnerships.

Currently, about 350 undergraduate and graduate students in the college are exploring music through the lenses of analysis, business, composition, conducting, education, musicology, performance and technology. This list is set to grow with the addition of new degree programs and partnerships that will make College of Music even more valuable in the rapidly changing music economy — a massive portion of which is anchored in Tennessee with Appalachian music in the east, country in Nashville and rhythm and blues in the west.

Enduring Support for Arts and Culture 

The Haslam family’s generosity has touched many areas across campus, including gifts supporting the Jenny Boyd Carousel Theatre, the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture, the Denbo Center for Humanities and the Arts, Athletics, the College of Law, UT Libraries and most notably the College of Business, which was renamed the James A. Haslam II College of Business in 2014.

A trailblazer herself, Haslam is a 1952 UT graduate and the first woman president of the Knoxville Symphony Society. She holds a philanthropic vision centered on fostering arts and culture at UT and across the region.

Her commitment to the university is evident through her decades of service on numerous boards including the College of Arts and Sciences’ Board of Visitors, Friends of UT Gardens, the Chancellor’s Circle, the Chancellor’s Associates and the UT Alliance of Women Philanthropists Executive Board.

Haslam has also served in leadership roles with organizations such as the East Tennessee Foundation, the Tennessee Arts Commission, the East Tennessee Historical Society, the Knoxville Garden Club, Zoo Knoxville, the Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Arts and Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville.

“Natalie and Jim Haslam’s support of the university over so many years is nothing short of admirable, and this most recent transformative gift is another testament to the sincerity and depth of their commitment,” said Brian Broyles, senior vice chancellor for advancement. “They have the courage to see the absolute best in our university, state, and community, and we are truly grateful for their determination to create an environment in which future generations can develop and thrive.”


Erica Estep (865-974-2225,

Alissa Galyon (865-974-3241,