KNOXVILLE — The College of Business Administration at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has named its new, state-of-the-art building after Jim Haslam, founder and chairman of the board of Pilot Travel Centers LLC and chairman of the board and president of Pilot Corp.
An alumnus of the college, Haslam and his family have been generous supporters of the university and the college. Haslam and his wife, Natalie, both 1952 graduates, donated $7.5 million to the College of Business Administration. The money is part of $38.2 million the couple has given to UT’s $1 billion capital campaign, the Campaign for Tennessee, of which they are co-chairs.
An invitation-only dinner, funded entirely through private donations, was held Friday, Oct. 17, to celebrate the completion of the facility and christen it as the James A. Haslam II Business Building. The naming must be approved by the Board of Trustees when it meets in Knoxville Oct. 23-24.
The building will open for classes in the spring semester, and a public grand opening is being planned for early January.
The new six-floor, 174,000-square-foot building at the corner of Andy Holt Avenue and Volunteer Boulevard houses 34 classrooms, more than 50 offices for staff and administration, 35 team and presentations rooms, a technology center, an investment center and an atrium with a glass elevator. Construction on the building began in November 2005. The project cost about $46 million and was funded by the state and private dollars.
“The College of Business Administration is fast becoming one of the nation’s top public programs, both in undergraduate and graduate education,” Interim Chancellor Jan Simek said. “During these difficult economic times, private support is essential so that the college can sustain its strong momentum and build upon programs that best prepare our students to compete in a global business world. We are grateful to the Haslams for their investment in UT and business education.”
Jan Williams, dean of the College of Business Administration, thanked the Haslams for their contributions.
“The Haslams have been wonderful friends and supporters of the university and college,” he said. “We are extremely honored to be naming our new business building after them. In addition to being models of business entrepreneurship and managerial prowess, the Haslams demonstrate an incredible commitment to our community.
“Their gift has touched each area that we identified as important: faculty support, programs and centers, student support, and technology support.”
The bulk of the Haslams’ gift—$5 million—will be used to support state-of-the-art technology.
“The most important asset in any business is the people who work there,” Jim Haslam said. “You have to give them the technology they need to succeed at what they do. The same applies to our students. In today’s global business environment, if you can’t get information instantly, you can’t compete. That’s why the best-run businesses have the best technology, and, likewise, the best colleges have the best technology. This gift is to ensure that UT leads the way.”
A gift of $1 million will endow the James A. II and Natalie L. Haslam Distinguished Professorship in Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
As an entrepreneurial success story in his own right, Haslam said this is a cause near and dear to his heart.
“The foundation of our country is small business entrepreneurship. Starting a business is tough; it’s extremely hard work, and it becomes your whole life. If you succeed, it’s very rewarding. We need professors who can articulate what that’s like. UT is located in a hotbed of innovation, and we need to continually capitalize on that,” he said.
Another $1 million will be used to endow the James A. II and Natalie Haslam Torch Fund, which will be managed by students under the guidance of faculty mentors. The Haslam Torch Fund will provide experiential learning that will add to students’ financial education and enhance their potential for investments-related employment.
The remaining $500,000 will be used to match qualified gifts to the College of Business Administration’s Family Campaign. Commitments of $25,000 or more from the college’s current or retired faculty and staff will qualify for the match.
The Haslams say they firmly believe their contributions to the UT’s College of Business Administration will help build a better future.
“Well-educated people, who know how to leverage technology in a global marketplace, will be the ones who succeed. They are the leaders of the future and our country’s most significant advantage,” Haslam said.
The new building was constructed on the site of the former Glocker Business Administration Building, and the faÃ§ade of that building was preserved as part of the new structure. A wing is named for Theodore Wesley Glocker, the first dean of the college.
The Campaign for Tennessee places UT among the ranks of the nation’s largest public and private institutions that have sought this level of private support. The campaign began in 2005, launched publicly in April 2007 and will run through 2011.
Cindy Raines, (865) 974-4359, firstname.lastname@example.org