Many UTK alumni have distinguished themselves in
their careers, their communities, and in their service to others.
Through their accomplishments and contributions these alumni have
reflected honor on the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. We recognize
and celebrate these notable alumni here.
The alumni recognized on this website have met
some or all of the following criteria:
- Attended the University of
- Attained the highest level of
professional accomplishments or made outstanding contributions to their
- Demonstrated high standards of
integrity and character
- Invested voluntary service on a
local, state, national, or international level
- Earned special honors or recognition
- Provided leadership or service to
the University of Tennessee, Knoxville
The following names represent some of our
most noteworthy alumni who have distinguished themselves through their
careers, contributions, and service to the University of Tennessee,
Victor Ashe (1974) served as U.S. ambassador to Poland from 2004-09. He is a former mayor of Knoxville
(1988-2003) and member of the Tennessee General Assembly. He was
president of the National Conference of Mayors in 1994.
Howard Baker Jr. (1949) was U.S.
ambassador to Japan from 2001 through 2004. Baker served as both
minority and majority leader during his 18 years in the U.S. Senate. He
was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1984. He was White
House chief of staff from 1987 to 1988 under President Ronald Reagan.
Throughout his career, Baker has remained an active supporter of the
University of Tennessee. UT's Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public
Policy recognizes his service to the university, state, and nation.
Baker represented the state of Tennessee while serving in the U.S.
Senate. Baker received the University of Tennessee Distinguished Alumnus
Award in 2009.
Samuel E. Beall III (1973) is the
founder of Ruby Tuesday restaurants. He is former chairman and chief executive
officer of Ruby Tuesday Inc., and former president, CEO, and chairman
of the board of Morrison Inc.
Clarence Leon Brown (1910)
directed or produced 53 films, nine of which won Academy Awards. Brown
and his wife, Marian, donated $12 million to the university’s theater
department. The Clarence Brown Theater at UT Knoxville is named in
his honor. Brown was posthumously awarded the University of Tennessee Distinguished
Alumnus Award in 2009.
James McGill Buchanan (1941) won
the Nobel Prize in 1986 for his theory of public choice in politics and
economics. He is advisory general director of the Center for Study of
Public Choice and professor emeritus at George Mason University. He is
the author of numerous books and is a fellow of the American Economic
Deana Kay Carter (1989) won the
Country Music Association Song of the Year award in 1997 for “Strawberry
Wine.” She has had three No. 1 country singles.
Tamika Catchings (2001) of the
Women’s National Basketball Association’s Indiana Fever, was the 2002
WNBA rookie of the year. She was a four-time All-America as a Lady Vol.
She won gold medals in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics.
John Compton (1983) is CEO of Pilot/Flying J. He is former chief executive
officer for North America with PepsiCo and former president and CEO
of Quaker Tropicana Gatorade.
John Cullum (1953) is a Tony award-winning actor. He won the top theater award for his roles in Shenandoah
and On the Twentieth Century. He was the star of the television series
Arthur B. Culvahouse Jr. (1970) is
chairman of O’Melveny & Myers, an international law firm of more
than 1,000 lawyers. From 1987 to 1989, he was chief White House counsel to
President Ronald Reagan. He is a member of the board of trustees of the
Mark Dean (1979) developed the
technology that effectively launched the personal computer. His PC-AT
(personal computer–advanced technology) is the interface that allows
users to plug modems, printers, and scanners into computers. He holds three of IBM's original nine PC patents. He is a member
of the National Academy of Engineering and received the Black Engineer
of the Year Award.
Nancy-Ann Min DeParle (1978) served from 2009-2013 as
counselor to President Barack Obama and Director of the White House Office of
Health Reform. She is the former administrator of the Federal Health
Care Financing Administration. She was the university’s first female
Rhodes Scholar and the first female president of the Student Government
Association at Knoxville. She was Tennessee commissioner of human
services from 1987 to 1989.
Marion Dorset (1893) discovered the cause of hog cholera and developed a serum for
it. The eradication of hog cholera is his best known accomplishment, but
he also developed a rapid diagnostic test for pullorum, a disease of
chickens, that has saved poultry farmers millions of dollars. The purple
ink used by government graders on meat to indicate that the meat is
healthy and wholesome is a Dorset invention. He is a member of the
Tennessee Agricultural Hall of Fame.
Charles Ergen (1974) is co-founder and chairman of the board of the DISH Network, formerly known as the EchoStar
Communications Corporation. He previously was president and CEO of DISH Network. He has been named to Forbes magazine’s Top Ten CEOs list.
Phillip Fulmer (1972) was head
coach of the Tennessee Volunteers football team from 1992-2008, and was inducted into the National College Football Hall of Fame in 2012. Fulmer
was national coach of the year in 1998, when the Vols won the national
championship. He has the second most wins of any Tennessee football
coach and had 100 more wins than losses over his career (152-52); he
also led the Volunteers to two SEC championships.
Ernie Grunfeld, who attended UT in
Knoxville from 1973 to 1979, is general manager of
the NBA's Washington Wizards. He won a gold medal as a member of the 1976 U.S.
Olympic men’s basketball team. He played in the NBA and was formerly
the general manager of the New York Knicks and the Milwaukee Bucks.
Henry Hartsfield Jr. (Space Institute
1971), was a NASA astronaut. He made three space flights and was mission
commander aboard Discovery in 1984 and Challenger in 1985. He is vice
president of Raytheon Aerospace Engineering Services.
James A. Haslam II (1952) is founder of Pilot Corp., one of the largest privately owned companies in the United States, which is headquartered in Knoxville. In 2006, he and his wife, Natalie (1952), made a $32.5 million
gift to the university, the school's largest gift ever. Haslam received the University of Tennessee
Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2009.
Todd Helton is first
baseman with the Colorado Rockies, and is a five-time All Star, four-time Silver Slugger, and three-time Golden Glove Award winner. He played baseball for
Tennessee from 1992 to 1995 and was a two-time All-American.
Chamique Holdsclaw (1999) is a retired WNBA player, having played at Washington, Los Angeles, Atlanta and San Antonio. At UT, she twice received the
Naismith National Player of the Year Award and was a three-time
All-America selection. She won an Olympic gold medal with the USA Women's Basketball team at the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney. Holdsclaw was honored by UT Knoxville as an Accomplished Alumnus in 2012.
Charles O. “Chad” Holliday (1970)
is chairman of Bank of America and is the former CEO, chairman and director of DuPont. In September 2002, he was
appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on the National
Infrastructure Advisory Council. As of 2013, he is chairman emeritus of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness and chairman of the Business Roundtable's Task Force for Environment, Technology and Economy. In 2004, he was elected to the National
Academy of Engineering.
Allan Houston (1993) is UT men’s
basketball all-time career scoring leader. He played professionally for
the New York Knicks.
Min Kao (1975, 1977) is CEO and
director of Garmin Ltd., the world’s largest manufacturer of GPS
devices. He co-founded the company in 1989.The Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building on UT's campus is named for him and was dedicated in 2012.
Joseph Wood Krutch (1915) was an
author as well as drama critic and associate editor of The Nation. His The
Measure of Man won the National Book Award for nonfiction in 1955.
Francis E. “Hank” Lauricella
attended UT Knoxville from 1949 to 1951. He was an All-America
football player and runner-up for the Heisman trophy. He is a member of
the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame. He
served 32 years in the Louisiana legislature.
Kara Lawson (2003) has played for both the Connecticut Sun and
Sacramento Monarchs of the WNBA. She earned an Olympic gold medalist at the 2008 games in Beijing. She also serves as an analyst for ESPN covering college basketball and the NBA. In 2007, she became the first woman to work as a nationwide broadcast analyst for an NBA game.
John T. Majors (1957) was a
football All-America in 1956 and runner-up for the Heisman trophy. He
was head football coach of the Volunteers from 1977 to 1992 and also
coached at the University of Pittsburgh, where his team won the 1976
NCAA National Championship. He is a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall
of Fame and the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of
Peyton Manning (1998) is quarterback
of the NFL Denver Broncos. He was an All-America at Tennessee and
won the Sullivan Award for the top amateur athlete in the nation. He was
runner-up for the Heisman trophy. In 2006, Manning led the Indianapolis
Colts to victory in Super Bowl XLI and was voted Super Bowl MVP.
Cormac McCarthy is a novelist who
attended UT Knoxville from 1951-52 and 1957-60. He won the National
Book Award in 1992 for All the Pretty Horses and the Pulitzer
Prize in 2007 for The Road. He was honored with the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction in 2008.
Lindsey Nelson (1941) was
announcer for UT football, sports director and announcer for NBC, and
announcer for the New York Mets and the San Francisco Giants. He is a
member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, and UT’s baseball stadium in Knoxville
is named for him.
Candace Parker (2008) is a member of the
WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks and is considered one of the NCAA's best women’s
basketball players of all time. She was a No. 1 draft pick. She won a gold medal for women's basketball at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympic Games. In 2008, Parker was named the WNBA
Rookie of the Year as well as the Most Valuable Player of the Year; she
was the first WNBA player to win both awards in the same season.
Michael C. Polt (1977) was sworn in as the U.S.
ambassador to Estonia in November 2009. During 2004-2007, Polt served as U.S. ambassador to Serbia and Montenegro.
Dave Ramsey (1982) is the host of the
nationally syndicated Dave Ramsey Show and author of Financial Peace.
Kathryn Dee Robinson (1971) of
Dayton, Tenn., is a former U.S. ambassador to Ghana. She began her
diplomatic career in 1975 with an assignment in India and also served in
China, Indonesia, and Korea.
Edward Terry Sanford, who
graduated in 1883, was a U.S. Supreme Court Justice from 1923 to 1930.
James R. “Jim” Sasser attended UT
from 1954 to 1955. He was a U.S. senator from Tennessee, serving from
1977 to 1995. He also was ambassador to China.
Ronald L. Schlicher (1981) assumed the position of Principal Deputy Assistant Coordinator for Counterterrorism in 2008. He served as U.S.
ambassador to Cyprus from 2006-08. Schlicher is a veteran of the U.S.
Foreign Service and formerly was coordinator for Iraq in the Bureau of
Near Eastern Affairs.
Margaret Scobey (1971, 1973) served as U.S. ambassador to Egypt from 2008-11. She
previously served in Syria, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Kuwait.
William B. Stokely III (1963) was
president and CEO of Stokely-Van Camp Inc. and chairman and president of
the Stokely Company.
Pat Summitt (1975) won eight
national championships as head coach of the basketball Lady Vols. In 2012, she was named Head Coach Emeritus of the Lady Vols basketball team. She is
in the Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
Summitt is the all-time winningest coach in the NCAA with more than
1,000 victories. She won a silver medal in the 1976 Olympics. Summitt received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in May 2012.
Ann Tanner Taylor (1958) is a
newscaster for National Public Radio.
John Ward (1953) is the retired “Voice
of the Vols,” who formerly broadcast Volunteer men’s basketball and
football. He broadcast UT football for 31 seasons and basketball for 34
until retiring in 1999. He is a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of
Joe Weller (1968) retired in 2006 as
chairman and CEO of Nestle USA Inc.
Reggie White (1990) was a football
All-America in 1983. He played professionally for the Philadelphia
Eagles (1985-92), Green Bay Packers (1993-98) and Carolina Panthers. He
is a member of the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall
of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Christopher Whittle (1969) is the
founder and CEO of Edison Schools.
John Noble Wilford (1955) has won
two Pulitzer Prizes for national reporting. He has been a science correspondent
for the New York Times and is founder of the paper’s weekly science
If there is someone you believe deserves
recognition, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please provide any information that may be helpful for consideration.
A committee will periodically review submissions and make updates to
this list of notable alumni.