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UT Reaches $1 Billion Campaign for Tennessee Goal Ahead of Schedule; Anderson Gift Puts UT over the Top in Campaign


Charles Anderson & Family

The Campaign for Tennessee, the most ambitious fundraising effort in the 216-year history of the University of Tennessee, has reached its $1-billion goal 18 months ahead of schedule. While the campaign's official end is not until December 2011, a total of $1,023,331,880 already has been committed.

"This monumental success of reaching our goal early is a grand statement by our alumni and friends that they believe in the work of our faculty and leadership as well as the importance of the University of Tennessee in their lives and in the future of our state," said UT Interim President Jan Simek.

The campaign's success places UT among an elite group of only 28 public universities that have successfully completed fundraising campaigns of at least $1 billion, according to the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. The gift that put the campaign over the top came from the family of UT Board of Trustees member Charles C. Anderson Jr., CEO of Anderson Media Corp., and his wife, Moll, an author; lifestyle, marketing and communications expert; and TV host. They live in Knoxville.

"Moll and I considered how we could best make a positive impact on this state and region. The University was the obvious answer," said Charlie Anderson, who graduated from UT Knoxville with a marketing degree.

"The university has already given so much to our family, it was just natural that we would want to give back," Moll Anderson said.

In recognizing the Andersons' generosity, the university is naming the College of Business Administration's Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation in their honor. The newly-named Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation houses a unique and vibrant program with incredible interest by students and faculty with a goal of establishing future business that will positively impact the economy in the region. The gift will further enable faculty to teach students and develop their entrepreneurial talent to start businesses or contribute to the success of existing technology-driven businesses. For more information, visit http://www.andersoncei.utk.edu/.

The gift also has established the Moll R. Anderson Scholarship Endowment to provide scholarships for single parents with special consideration given to parents whose children participate in the Boys and Girls Clubs.

"I believe in dreams," Moll Anderson said. "I believe you can do anything you want to do if you set your mind to it. If you add an education to that determination nothing can stop you."

The College of Business Administration hosted a reception on June 24 to celebrate the continued success of the campaign and the Anderson family’s support. Students who participated in the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation’s business plan competition this year expressed their appreciation for the Andersons’ support.

“Integrating real-life business experiences with my classroom experiences proved to be invaluable to me,” said Danny Smith. Smith is a recent engineering graduate who along with his teammate, Dave Teeters, won second place in the lifestyle category of the business plan competition. Their company, Boulders Booties, is working to create protective gear for rock climbing.

“The business plan competition was open to all majors,” said Smith. “This allowed me the opportunity to fulfill my dream of starting my own business. I hope that others will follow in the footsteps of the Andersons and realize the importance of nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit of UT students.”

So far, more than 98,000 donors have given to the Campaign for Tennessee. More than 11,000 current and retired faculty and staff have donated $70.5 million as part of the family campaign led by UT President Emeritus Joe Johnson. Campaign for Tennessee co-chairs Jim and Natalie Haslam of Knoxville and Brenda Lawson of Cleveland say they are excited by the opportunities made possible by the campaign's success.

"The Campaign for Tennessee is not about numbers; it is about people. But the amount of money given and pledged allows the University to take the lead in being the engine of economic success for our state," Jim Haslam said.

Lawson added, "We have worked to make sure the University has what it needs, whether it is support to keep our outstanding professors or scholarships to ensure that financial need is not a barrier to access for students who want to attend any of UT's campuses."

Typical of public university fundraising, most donors designate the use of their gifts. About 98 percent of all Campaign for Tennessee gifts are allocated for a specific scholarship, professorship, program or other objective of the donor's choosing. These gifts cannot be used to offset the University's operating costs. Thirty-seven percent of the campaign total consists of deferred gifts that include bequests, charitable trusts and gift annuities which, by their nature, will not be realized for many years. Another third of the total consists of pledges to be paid over a period of years. The remainder is made up of gifts already received.

While the $1 billion goal has been met 18 months early, the campaign will continue until its scheduled completion date of December 2011. Fundraising remains critical to the university’s future, said Simek.

"Even though we have reached our overall goal for the Campaign for Tennessee, we are not finished,” he said. “Campuses and colleges are striving to achieve their individual goals, and the university is continuing to reshape its strategic plans.”

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