UT Alumna Establishes Endowments in Honor of Two of Her Professors

KNOXVILLE — UT College of Business Administration alumna Jennifer Banner has established two endowments for the college in honor of two of her former educators, the Richard L. Townsend Excellence Endowment and the John Wachowicz Excellence Endowment.

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

Banner graduated in 1981 with a major in general business and, in 1983, earned her Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree with a tax concentration. She currently is the CEO of Schaad Companies LLC; prior to joining Schaad she was a CPA and principal of Pershing Yoakley & Associates P.C.

“I wanted to honor two professors who made a difference in my life, both while I was on campus and continuing over the course of my professional life,” Banner said.

Richard Townsend is an associate professor in the Department of Accounting and Information Management; John Wachowicz is a Regions Bank Scholar in the Department of Finance.

“They both took an interest in me beyond teaching finance and accounting. Dr. Townsend helped steer me into the tax concentration, made numerous recommendations to recruiters, served as my adviser while in the MAcc program, and helped get me a graduate teaching assistantship,” Banner said.

“Dr. Wachowicz taught me valuable business/finance skills that I still use every day,” she said. “I can never repay that debt. I was motivated to honor him because for decades I have watched him give so much of himself to UT and to his students, so much above and beyond the call, never asking to be in the limelight for it, just doing it because he is a man who wants to do his job to the best of his abilities. He absolutely has earned the right to be honored,” she said.

Banner also credits her success to two of her great aunts for taking a chance on her many years ago by paying for her college education. She said she’s worked to give them a good return on their investment.

“They led by example and showed me the way to give back to support education,” Banner says. “They exemplified the saying, ‘Don’t give someone a fish; teach them how to fish.’ Now I know how to fish. Dr. Wachowicz and Dr. Townsend taught me how, and I want to support higher education so more people can learn to fish.”

The endowments provide a way for other alumni of the college, friends and family of the faculty, colleagues, etc. who were touched by Townsend and Wachowicz’s teaching to give back to the college. Anyone may contribute to these endowments.

Banner’s gifts are part of the Campaign for Tennessee, the most ambitious effort in the university’s 214-year history, which 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 in the UT system. Funds raised through the campaign will directly support the objectives of UT’s strategic plan. Among those objectives are improved student access and success, research and economic development, outreach and globalization.

C O N T A C T :

Cindy Raines (865-974-4359, craines1@utk.edu)

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