Tennessee Alumnus

Fore! Alumna Helps Women in Business Learn to Play Golf

UT MBA students Jessie Chou, Rachel McGill, Kendra Wilk and Meagan Lofton are part of an ingenious program which introduces women students to golf and its role in the business world. Photo by Michael Patrick/Knoxville News Sentinel

Female business students are being teed up for career success with the establishment of the Janet McKinley MBA Golf Endowment in the UT Knoxville College of Business Administration.

McKinley (Knoxville ’80) said her motivation for creating the endowment was based on her own experiences and her role as the former chief corporate auditor for BellSouth Corp. in Atlanta for nearly three decades before retiring in 2007.

Janet McKinley

“My experience in business is that golf is an equalizer—it opens doors, helps you meet colleagues and work associates, and allows you to conduct business with clients and customers outside of the office,” McKinley says. “But, throughout my career, I observed that women enter the game of golf too late in life—and they enter with a lot of apprehension about playing bad golf, not knowing the rules and not understanding the etiquette of the game. This program is designed to bring young professional women into the sport early in their careers.”

Earnings from the endowment will fund the new Grads to Golf program. The initiative promotes an interest in golf among National Association of Women Master of Business Administration (NAWMBA) student members through golf lessons, tournaments and events, speakers and young professional membership in the Executive Women’s Golf Association. The program is a joint venture between the Lady Vols golf program, the UT chapter of NAWMBA, the golf association’s national headquarters office and the local chapter of the golf association.

McKinley also has established the Robert and Janet McKinley Auditing Excellence Fund in the Department of Accounting and Information Management, the Bob and Barbara McKinley Student Enrichment Endowment in the UT Institute of Agriculture, and the Women in Business Endowment in the athletics department for students enrolled in the College of Business Administration.

McKinley has served the university through the UT Development Council (which she chaired from 2011 to 2013), the UT Accounting Roundtable, the UT Alliance of Women Philanthropists, the UT Foundation Board, and the UT Alumni Association Board of Governors.