The Janet McKinley MBA Golf Endowment will be based in the College of Business Administration.
Earnings from the endowment will fund the new Grads to Golf program. The initiative promotes an interest in golf among National Association of Women Master of Business Administration student members through golf lessons, tournaments and events, speakers, and young professional membership in the Executive Women’s Golf Association. The program is a joint venture between the Lady Vols golf program, the UT chapter of NAWMBA, the golf association’s national headquarters office, and the local Knoxville chapter of the golf association.
McKinley is a 1980 business alumna and former chief corporate auditor for BellSouth Corp. in Atlanta. She retired in 2007 after twenty-eight years of service.
“My experience in business is that golf is an equalizer—it opens doors, helps you meet colleagues and work associates, and allows you to conduct business with clients and customers outside of the office,” McKinley said. “But throughout my career, I observed that women enter the game of golf too late in life—and they enter with a lot of apprehension about playing bad golf, not knowing the rules, and not understanding the etiquette of the game. This program is designed to bring young professional women into the sport early in their careers.”
McKinley also has established the Robert and Janet McKinley Auditing Excellence Fund in the Department of Accounting and Information Management, the Bob and Barbara McKinley Student Enrichment Endowment in the UT Institute of Agriculture, and the Women in Business Endowment in the athletics department for students enrolled in the College of Business Administration.
She has served the university through the UT Development Council (which she chaired from 2011 to 2013), the UT Accounting Roundtable, the UT Alliance of Women Philanthropists, the UT Foundation Board, and the UT Alumni Association Board of Governors.
Through the Grads for Golf program, McKinley envisions that women in UT’s NAWMBA chapter will understand the value of golf in the business world, be able to play the game and use it to enhance and advance their professional career.
“Not only do the participants get hands-on golf instruction and mentoring from other women who play the game, they also hear from prominent businesswomen and golf industry leaders about the potential value of golf in their business careers,” she said.
McKinley hopes the UT model will be used as the foundation for similar programs at other universities and colleges across the country.
The program already has had an outstanding impact on the MBA students, said Amy Cathey, director of the UT MBA program.
“The Grads to Golf program has been an incredible opportunity for NAWMBA members to develop life skills that will benefit them both personally and professionally,” she said. “They have had excellent instruction from the Lady Vols golf coaches, alumnae, and golf professionals who have spoken to the group, and from Janet herself. The students are so appreciative. In fact, they look forward to supporting the development of future Grads to Golf initiatives.”
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