Loyal, committed, and enthusiastic are words often used to describe the individuals chosen to receive the UT Development Council’s 2009 awards. The honors were bestowed at the Council Awards Dinner last October 2 in Knoxville.
Trustee Lifetime Leadership of the University of Tennessee Award: Edward J. Boling
The inaugural Trustee Lifetime Leadership of the University of Tennessee Award, which recognizes someone who has dedicated the greater part of his or her life to advancing educational excellence at the University of Tennessee, went to President Emeritus Edward J. Boling.
Boling not only led the university during the time of its greatest expansion but he also was his alma mater’s -longest-serving president and provided a firm foundation for the university’s success.
When President Andy Holt retired in 1970, the Board of Trustees elected Boling UT’s 17th president. His experience in state government was a valuable asset to the university, and his leadership helped bring stability during the student unrest of the early 1970s. Boling served as president until 1988.
Born in Sevier County, Tennessee, in 1922, Boling served his country in Europe during World War II, and after returning home he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UT Knoxville in 1948 and 1950, respectively. In 1961 he received a doctorate in education from Vanderbilt University.
Several buildings have been named for Boling and his wife, Carolyn Pierce Boling: Thompson–Boling Assembly Center and Arena in Knoxville; the Edward and Carolyn Boling Pavilion at the UT Medical Center in Knoxville, which became UT Hospital’s East Wing in 1984; the Edward J. and Carolyn P. Boling University Center at UT Martin; and the Carolyn P. and Edward J. Boling Center for Child Developmental Disabilities at the UT Health Science Center in Memphis.
The couple’s true legacy, however, is not buildings but the lives changed due to their energy, intelligence, generosity, and dedication. The Bolings have been leaders of the UT family for nearly 50 years and have made generous gifts to support the university’s academic and athletic programs.
Jim and Natalie Haslam Presidential Medal: Pat Head Summitt
A UT ambassador on and off the court, the Lady Vols’ basketball coach Pat Head Summitt received the Jim and Natalie Haslam Presidential Medal, which is awarded to the alumnus who best demonstrates superior leadership, philanthropy, and service to the university.
Summitt has notched more than a thousand victories—more than any other coach, male or female, in the NCAA. She has brought home eight national championships and 27 Southeastern Conference tournament and regular season championships in her 35-year tenure as head coach.
She is in the Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. She won a silver medal in the 1976 Olympics. Under her leadership, Tennessee has made an unprecedented 27 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Sweet 16 and has produced 12 Olympians, 19 Kodak All-Americans named to 33 teams, and 71 All-SEC performers.
Summitt’s favorite part of coaching is teaching, and she teaches her players more than basketball. She has a 100-percent graduation rate for all Lady Vols who have completed their eligibility at Tennessee. She is a role model to countless young women, including her players, and she teaches the importance of community service.
She recently made a generous gift to support women’s basketball programs at UT Knoxville and at UT Martin, where she received her undergraduate degree. Summitt credits her parents with teaching her the importance of giving back, and part of her gift establishes a scholarship in their names.
Philanthropists of the Year: Kathleen and Tom Elam
Leaving a legacy of giving, Kathleen and Tom Elam were posthumously recognized with the Philanthropists of the Year Award. This award is given to a donor who has made a significant gift or gifts to the university. The award recognizes the profound impact a donor can have on the university and the lives of its students.
Tom Elam was appointed to the UT Board of Trustees in 1956 and served 42 years, until his death in 1998. He served even longer on the Tennessee Athletics Board. He was identified so closely with UT and its Board of Trustees that in 1996, when his term was about to expire, the Tennessee General Assembly extended it to 2020, with the provision that should the seat become vacant, it would not be filled.
In his hometown of Union City, Tennessee, Elam was a respected attorney and businessman. Despite his decades of public service, his name may be best known because it appears on the façade of Neyland Stadium, where the press box is named in his honor.
The Elams supported many academic and athletic programs during their lifetimes. A generous $1-million contribution to UT Martin in 1996 coincided with the university’s naming of the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center in the couple’s honor. After her husband’s death, Kathleen Elam continued her support to the university by giving nearly $1.9 million.
The UT Martin Skyhawk football program received more than $1.7 million of her gifts. This included a $560,000 challenge gift to launch a private campaign to build the Bob Carroll Football Building in the south end zone of Hardy M. Graham Stadium. The multipurpose room in the Carroll Football Building was named the Kathleen H. Elam Room.
Besides these gifts, Mrs. Elam, who died in April 2009, bequeathed most of her estate to UT Martin, UT Knoxville, and the UT Health Science Center. The bequest is the largest gift in UT Martin’s history.
Development Council Service Award: Charles and Julie Wharton
Charles Wharton his late wife, Julie, were honored with the Development Council Service Award.
The Whartons established the Wharton Professorship Awards several years ago to help encourage faculty retention and to recognize exceptional College of Veterinary Medicine faculty members. The Charles and Julie Wharton Faculty Development Fund in the College of Veterinary Medicine provides study and travel funds for its faculty. The Whartons also have supported the College of Engineering.
Charles Wharton, who earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering at UT and a master of business administration from the University of Chicago, is a member of the university’s Board of Trustees, Foundation Board, Development Council, Agricultural Development Board, and the UTSI Support Council. He is the chair of the executive committee for the Institute of Agriculture’s Campaign for Tennessee steering committee. He is a former chair of the Development Council.
Julie Wharton was a founding member of the Alliance of Women Philanthropists and a longtime member of the UT College of Veterinary Medicine Board of Advisors. She passed away in August 2008.
The Whartons made a lead gift to the Institute of Agriculture within the university’s Campaign for Tennessee, designating the greater part of the gift to the veterinary college. Charles Wharton lives in Winchester, Tennessee, where he is president and CEO of Poplar Creek Farms.