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East Tennessee Natives, UT Grads Barrett and Betsy Simonis Contribute to
UT College of Business Administration

Betsy and Barrett SimonisKNOXVILLE, TN — East Tennessee natives Barrett and Betsy Kirkland Simonis established the Barrett and Betsy Simonis Endowed Accounting Scholarship in the University of Tennessee College of Business Administration to be awarded annually to a deserving undergraduate or graduate student majoring in accounting.

Their gift is part of the Campaign for Tennessee, a $1 billion fundraising effort at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

The Simonises both are UT alums: Barrett is a 2001 accounting graduate from the College of Business Administration, and Betsy is a 2004 retail and consumer science graduate from the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences.

“The University of Tennessee provided me with many wonderful experiences that have had an everlasting impact on my life and have played a tremendous role in developing me into who I am today,” said Barrett Simonis. “The college faculty provided me with the skills that I needed to start my career and be a successful business professional.”

Barrett Simonis, CPA, is a senior manager with Pugh & Company, P.C., one of Knoxville’s largest and most prestigious accounting and business services firms.

“I was very fortunate to receive an academic scholarship from the college when I was a student,” said Simonis. “I remember writing my donors each year thanking them for their gracious gift.

“My wife and I established our own scholarship fund so that we too can provide a student with the same support that I received. Giving back is so important, with no gift being too small. While one scholarship may not seem to make a big difference, that one scholarship made a significant difference for me.”

Scholarships are very important to the college and the success of its students; they provide an essential financial base. “Barrett and Betsy are generous contributors to the college,” said Jan Williams, dean of the College of Business Administration. “They are giving of themselves so that someone they don’t know may have a brighter future. They underscore the generous nature of our alumni.”

“Once we reached a point in our lives when we were fortunate enough to give back, the college was an easy choice,” continued Simonis. “We hope that our gift along with the gifts of others will help ensure UT’s greatness for future students and faculty to come.”

The Campaign for Tennessee — the most ambitious effort in the university's 214-year history -- places UT among the ranks of the nation's largest public and private institutions that have sought this level of private support.

The campaign, which launched its silent phase in 2005, will secure private gifts that, in turn, will contribute substantially to the distinct, but linked, campuses comprised by the University of Tennessee system. Funds raised through the campaign will directly support the objectives of UT's strategic plan, as outlined by UT President John Petersen. Among those objectives are improved student access and success, research and economic development, outreach and globalization.

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About The University of Tennessee College of Business Administration

The mission of the University of Tennessee College of Business Administration in Knoxville, Tennessee, is to provide innovative leadership in management research education and practice. The College consistently breaks new ground with both its scholarship and award-winning, integrated curriculum that is taught within its undergraduate, graduate and nationally recognized executive education programs. The College is fully accredited by AACSB International - The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. For more information about the University of Tennessee College of Business Administration, visit http://bus.utk.edu