Trustees Approve Naming of Boyd Research Center and Stokely Family Residence Hall

The Board of Trustees approved two proposals today to name a national research center and a new residence hall on the Knoxville campus.

The Center for Business and Economic Research is now the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research, named in honor of UT alumni Randy Boyd and his wife, Jenny.

The Stokely Family Residence Hall is being built on the site of the former Gibbs Hall and the William B. Stokely Athletics Center. The name serves to honor the Stokely family’s more than 100-year commitment to UT.

Trustees unanimously approved both proposals at the full board meeting held today at UT Martin.

Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research

Housed within the Haslam College of Business, the center was established in 1937 as the Bureau of Business and Economic Research and became the Center for Business and Economic Research in 1967.

Ergen Professor of Business William F. Fox directs the center, which focuses on national and state economic trends for government and public and private organizations. The center conducts research on economic analysis and policy considerations on taxation, health care, education, workforce needs, capital investments, and welfare.

“Randy and Jenny’s generous financial commitment to the center supports funding for faculty research initiatives, technology, and database and subscription fees, as well as efforts to maintain the center’s national reputation for excellence and ingenuity,” said Fox.

Randy Boyd graduated in 1979 with a degree in industrial management. In 1991, he founded Radio Systems Corporation, which produces more than 4,600 pet products under brand names such as PetSafe, Invisible Fence, and SportDOG.

In 2013, he took a yearlong leave of absence from his company to serve Gov. Bill Haslam in a volunteer role as his special advisor on higher education. Boyd played a key role in the development of the Drive to 55 initiative and Tennessee Promise before becoming Tennessee’s commissioner of economic and community development.

“Outstanding centers like the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research play a critical role in our ability to serve the state, and they continue to enhance our national reputation,” said UT Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. “Randy understands very well the importance of this center for our state and university, and thus it is only fitting for the center to now share the Boyd name.”

The Boyds have invested in improving lives through education.

 The Randy and Jenny Boyd tnAchieves Scholarship benefits students who successfully complete their associate’s degree through the Tennessee Promise program.

The Full-Service Collaborative Project/University-Assisted Community School Program Enrichment Fund—operated through UT’s College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences—provides funding for an after-school program that offers mental health and health care services, community training and outreach, supplies, equipment, and meals to students at Pond Gap Elementary School in Knox County.

The couple also funds the Boyd Venture Fund for Student Entrepreneurs, and the Pet Safe Endowed Chair in Small Animal Clinical Behavior Research in UT’s College of Veterinary Medicine. They are leading donors to UT Athletics, in particular for the development of world-class facilities for the track and field programs, among other areas of the university.

Randy Boyd serves on the Haslam College of Business Dean’s Advisory Council and as the college’s chair for the Investing in the Journey to the Top 25 campaign, a university-wide effort.

Stokely Family Residence Hall

Located on the corner of Volunteer and Lake Loudoun Boulevards, the nine-floor, 375,000-square-foot Stokely Family Residence Hall will house 684 UT students. The building adds to the campus a new Fresh Food Company large-scale dining facility, a POD grocery location, and a coffeehouse, all adjacent to a new 1,020-space parking garage.

“The Stokely family has always been a leader in supporting and giving to this university,” said Cheek. “The Stokely Family Residence Hall will be a great addition to our campus and will serve as a lasting testament to the family’s legacy of leadership, service, and philanthropy.”

The site of the Stokely Family Residence Hall previously held Gibbs Hall and the William B. Stokely Athletics Center, which opened as the UT Armory-Fieldhouse in 1958. The name of the facility changed after William B. Stokely Jr. helped fund a $2.6 million renovation in 1966. The Tennessee men’s and women’s basketball teams held a tremendous home-court advantage in Stokely Athletics Center, winning 458 games against 87 losses for a winning percentage of 84 percent, and the center was home to the outstanding Coach Ray Mears’ teams and the start of Pat Head Summitt’s legendary coaching career. It also hosted concerts by Elvis Presley, Elton John, Whitney Houston and others.

The family’s Big Orange roots run deep. Beginning in 1895 with the graduation of William Burnett Stokely Sr., who served as the captain of the Tennessee football team, four consecutive generations of William B. Stokelys have graduated from the university.

Members of the Stokely family have served the university at every level. Two members have served on the UT Board of Trustees and four on UT’s Development Council, two as chair. Members of the family have also served on the UT Foundation Board of Directors, the Chancellor’s Associates, the UT Athletics Board, and advisory boards in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Haslam College of Business.

The Stokely family has long been a source of leadership in building a foundation of philanthropic support for the university. Beginning with challenge gifts to encourage other donors, members of the family went on to lead UT’s first-ever campaign, a $3 million campaign for the College of Business from 1970 to 1972. They have also served as national chairs for the university-wide Tennessee Tomorrow and 21st Century campaigns.

Their personal giving includes support for the Stokely Athletics Center, the Stokely Professor of Management (the first endowed professorship at UT), the William B. Stokely Jr. Foundation Dean’s Chair in the Haslam College of Business, and leadership support of UT Athletics, including the creation of the Bob Woodruff Athletic Director’s Suite and the Stokely Media Center at Neyland Stadium, as well as numerous scholarship funds across the campus.

CONTACT:

Tyra Haag (865-974-5460, tyra.haag@tennessee.edu)