Some of the most generous people in the world are friends of the University of Tennessee. The university, always grateful for donor support, has initiated a trio of awards that formally recognize people who have made giving an art form. The first awards were presented at last fall’s meeting of the UT Development Council in Knoxville.
The inaugural Jim and Natalie Haslam Presidential Medal went to Howard Baker Jr. (Knoxville ’49). The former U.S. senator and ambassador to Japan is one of the university’s best-known graduates. His career has included service as U.S. Senate majority leader and White House chief of staff. UT’s Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy honors his dedication to public service. The Baker Center is a nonpartisan organization that emphasizes better understanding of government and better appreciation of the importance of public service through education, research, and public programs. A new building to house the Baker Center will be completed this year. Jim and Natalie Haslam of Knoxville established the Presidential Medal to recognize a person who demonstrates superior leadership, philanthropy, and service to the university.
The UT Philanthropist of the Year Award recognizes a donor whose gifts have had a profound impact on the University of Tennessee. A couple dedicated to ensuring that there will always be great teachers to educate and guide young people shared the award. David and Jane Bailey of Knoxville established scholarships for future teachers and issued a $1-million challenge that has resulted in the Top Teachers for Tennessee Scholarship Fund. David Bailey says he sees a “multiplier effect of hundreds and hundreds of students whose lives are touched in significant ways.” In honor of the Baileys’ dedication to UT and teacher education, the building previously known as the Claxton Addition was renamed the Jane and David Bailey Education Complex in May 2007. Housed in the building are offices and classrooms of the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences. Both of the Baileys are UT Knoxville graduates.
The Development Council Service Award recognizes exceptional service in the advancement of excellence at UT. Charlie Brinkley, a UT Knoxville business administration graduate, was the 2007 recipient. He is a member of Development Council and has served on the Alumni Association Board of Governors, the UT Athletics Board, and the UT Foundation. He and his wife, Sherry, established a charitable remainder trust to benefit athletics and the College of Business Administration. Charlie Brinkley is a banker who started a number of community banks throughout Florida and is now beginning a new community bank venture. The Brinkleys live in Nashville. They have two daughters–one a UT Knoxville graduate and the other a student at the Knoxville campus.