Jim and Judi Herbert

UT Knoxville, ’62, ’63


Part of the Tennessee Alumnus’ 100 Distinguished Alumni feature.

Jim Herbert began his UT career living in a 10-by-12 room in the center of a greenhouse. It was board he earned through sweat equity for watering plants.

UT also is where Herbert picked the flower of his life, his wife, the former Judith Anderson. He earned a bachelor’s degree in animal husbandry in 1962, and she earned a bachelor’s in English the following year.

The Herberts’ impacts at the university are many. He is a member of the UT Foundation Board of Directors. She serves on the College of Arts and Science Dean’s Advisory Board. Together, they were presented the 2016 UT Philanthropists of the Year award. Their passions as students have transitioned into their philanthropic efforts today, with each of their respective colleges receiving generous endowments.

With agriculture in his roots, Jim Herbert came to UT as a Memphis-area farm boy and went on to co-found Neogen Corporation, which he leads as CEO and chairman of the board. The publicly held company is a pioneer in rapid diagnostic testing and focuses on the development, manufacturing and marketing of products for food and animal safety.

Herbert’s business acumen at Neogen and other corporations on which he has served as a board member has won praise from NASDAQ and USA Today, which named him a Michigan Entrepreneur of the Year. He has been awarded honorary doctorates from Michigan State University and Queen’s University of Belfast, Ireland. In 2016, he picked up another when UT recognized his service to industry and his alma mater with an honorary doctorate of agriculture.

Michigan may be where the Herberts now live, but their hearts have never left Tennessee.