The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business has received a commitment from First Horizon Bank for a $500,000 endowment. Since the endowment supports strategic priorities for the college, it will receive one-to-one matching funds through the Haslam Matching Gift Program for a total gift of $1 million.
A portion of the endowment will support the First Horizon Foundation Business Endowed Distinguished Professorship, elevating a previously established professorship currently held by Russell Crook in the college’s Department of Management and Entrepreneurship.
“It's difficult to articulate the tremendous sense of gratification I have when thinking about First Horizon’s continued investment in the Haslam College of Business and in me,” Crook said. “Their support signals that the work the college is doing makes a difference in the lives of our students and community.”
Dave Miller, president of First Horizon’s East Tennessee region, said the bank is thrilled to continue its support of Crook. “He has made outstanding contributions in business research as well as teaching,” Miller said. “His passion for serving students is really inspiring.”
A large part of the gift will be dedicated to establishing the First Horizon Foundation Endowed Business Scholarship, the first of which will be awarded during the fall 2022 semester. The scholarship is geared toward first-generation students, particularly those participating in Haslam’s TakeOff program, which Crook helped launch in 2017.
TakeOff helps first-generation students transition to university life and to Haslam in particular, providing participants with a smaller, customized section of BUAD 100 (the first-year business course), peer mentorships and professional development opportunities. Since the program began, the college’s retention rates (the percentage of students who continue their studies beyond the first year) have been significantly higher than those of other universities.
“At First Horizon, we know that a great education leads to better life outcomes and economic prosperity, and changes the trajectory of your life and your children’s lives,” Miller said. “First-generation college students deserve the opportunity to succeed, and we are happy to play a role in making that happen.”
First Horizon has been the Official Bank of the Vols for nearly 30 years, a commitment that goes beyond athletics and includes financial literacy workshops for faculty and students as well as summer internship opportunities. Nearly half of the bank’s Knoxville associates are UT alumni, with more being hired every year.
“Our blood runs orange,” Miller said. “We are proud to support the university in so many ways.”
The remainder of the endowment will support a partnership for the Haslam Connects program, sponsorship for the college’s annual Alumni Awards Gala and official naming of a First Horizon Foundation Classroom in the Haslam Business Building. Miller, who regularly donates his time to speak to Haslam students about the banking industry, will join the college’s Advisory Council to the Dean for a three-year term.
“We are deeply appreciative of First Horizon’s commitment to the Haslam College of Business and the university community,” Stephen L. Mangum, dean and Stokely Foundation Leadership Chair at Haslam, said. “This endowment, along with Dave Miller’s generosity in sharing his time and expertise, further demonstrates their dedication to our ongoing partnership.”
Stacy Estep, writer/publicist, email@example.com