Gift from Randy and Jenny Boyd Creates Endowment for tnAchieves Students

A gift from Randy and Jenny Boyd will make it easier for more Tennessee students earning associate’s degrees to transfer and earn bachelor’s degrees from UT Knoxville.

The Boyds, both UT alumni, made a $1 million gift to the university to endow up to three new students a year who complete the tnAchieves scholarship program. Boyd, chairman and CEO of Radio Systems Corporation, currently serves as special adviser for higher education to Governor Bill Haslam.

The Boyds’ gift contributes to Governor Haslam’s goals for significantly increasing the percentage of Tennesseans with a college degree or professional certification. It also contributes to UT’s goal to welcome more transfer students seeking to complete their education at the university.

“We are excited to offer tnAchieves students the opportunity to transfer to become Volunteers. Furthering their education will open doors for them in the work world,” Randy Boyd said. “Our hope is to make a difference in the lives of people who can then make a difference in our state.”

Boyd is working closely with Governor Haslam on the goal to increase the percentage of Tennesseans with college degrees or certifications to 55 percent by 2025.

All tnAchieves students who earn their associate’s degrees and apply to UT will automatically be considered for the scholarship. Recipients will be chosen from a pool of applicants who have completed the tnAchieves requirements. The new program will provide $2,500 a year toward tuition and fees.

Founded in 2008 in Knox County, tnAchieves aims to increase higher education opportunities for Tennessee public high school students by providing last-dollar scholarships with volunteer mentor guidance. Boyd is chair of the board for tnAchieves and has supported its growth into a statewide organization since its inception.

“The Boyds have long been great supporters of UT, and this latest effort underscores their commitment to helping Tennessee students reach their full potential,” said Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. “We are proud to be leaders in helping the state reach its goals for a more educated population, and we appreciate the Boyds’ dedication to our university and our state.”

The Boyds have founded and invested in numerous UT programs for enhancing K-12 teacher education and community-based school programs. In 2011, the Boyds established the Boyd Venture Fund to reward young entrepreneurs through an annual competition. The couple also funds one of only a few veterinary school behaviorist positions in the country, within the College of Veterinary Medicine.

More than 6,400 Tennessee students have entered a postsecondary institution through tnAchieves. The program provides last-dollar scholarships to help students meet the gap between the financial aid they have been awarded and the money they actually need to attend college. The money is paid directly to one of ten community colleges and five Tennessee colleges of applied technology.

Most tnAchieves students are first-generation college students. Along with being paired with a mentor, students are required to serve their communities through specific requirements.

C O N T A C T :

Karen Simsen (865-974-5186, karen.simsen@tennessee.edu)