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Haslams donate $10M to UT-Knoxville for academics


A $10 million gift to the University of Tennessee’s main campus announced Tuesday will be used to support its acclaimed forensic anthropology and Renaissance studies programs, endowed professorships and honors scholarships that include study abroad.

The gift is from Jimmy Haslam, president and CEO of Knoxville-based Pilot Travel Centers, and his wife, Dee Haslam, CEO of RIVR Media, a Knoxville-based television production company.

Jimmy Haslam is the son of Pilot founder, longtime UT booster and philanthropist Jim Haslam, who with his wife, Natalie Haslam, made a $32.5 million donation to the university in 2006.

“Students and faculty are what make UT strong, inviting and vibrant,” Jimmy Haslam said. “We are happy to create the Haslam Scholars program to bring some of the nation’s best students to the UT campus … (and to) help the university attract leading scholars.”

Some $2.5 million will be devoted to the scholarships, which will provide recipients with $1,500 for a laptop computer, study abroad valued at $4,000 and up to $5,500 for travel and research toward a senior thesis.

The deadline is Nov. 1 to apply for the first 15 scholarships in 2008.

The gift also provides $3 million for scholarly research and graduate programs at the Marco Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Students program in the College of Arts and Sciences. The program’s faculty includes Jay Rubenstein, recent winner of a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant.”

Another $2 million will go to UT’s Forensic Anthropology Center, with $750,000 earmarked for a new building for its CSI-related research facility popularly known as “The Body Farm.”

The remaining $2.5 million will go into an faculty endowment to recruit and retain top professors.

The Haslams are co-chairs of a UT-Knoxville fundraising campaign that is part of a broader universitywide drive to raise $1 billion by 2012.

University of Tennessee:

–Associated Press

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