KNOXVILLE- Four University of Tennessee graduates who have achieved success in fields from medicine to business to athletics were honored for exceptional service to their alma mater at the annual UT President’s Council Awards Dinner on Friday in Memphis. The awards are for exceptional contributions by alumni to their alma mater.
“The University of Tennessee is beloved throughout the state as an institution with such great and varied contributions. This is possible because of the people who work for the University to enable fulfillment of its mission and because we have such engaged alumni and exceptional leaders,” UT President Joe DiPietro said.
Dr. Bob Kaplan, a Memphis dermatologist, received the Jim and Natalie Haslam Presidential Medal for a distinguished record of supporting the University through exemplary giving, volunteer leadership and service.
Kaplan is a 1973 UT Health Science Center graduate recognized for giving that enables students to prepare for careers in medicine. Kaplan’s 2005 gift to the UT College of Medicine established the Kaplan Clinical Skills and Assessment Center where teaching, simulation and standardized patient encounters enhance medical students’ abilities to take patient histories, perform physical exams and communicate effectively with patients.
Jim Herbert and his wife, Judi Herbert, received the UT Philanthropists of the Year Award for significant gifts that have impacted the University. Jim Herbert is a 1962 graduate of the UT Institute of Agriculture, and Judi Herbert is a 1963 UT Knoxville graduate. They now live in Michigan.
In 2016, the Herberts partnered with the UT Institute of Agriculture and UT Knoxville College of Arts and Sciences to endow transformational student learning opportunities. The Jim and Judi Herbert Student Enhancement Endowment was established to support experiential learning initiatives for students in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. They Herberts also endowed the Jim and Judi Herbert Fund for Excellence in Writing to provide undergraduates in all disciplines with writing support through the College of Arts and Sciences Writing Center.
Phillip Fulmer, a 1973 UT Knoxville graduate and former head football coach who led the Vols to a national championship in 1998, received the President’s Council Award for exceptional service. He has volunteered extensively for UT, meeting with leaders across the state to advocate for the University. Fulmer has been a member of the UT President’s Council, the University System President’s core volunteer leadership group charged with advancing the System’s mission to serve the people of Tennessee, since 2015.
Alan Ledger, a 1987 UT Knoxville graduate and immediate past president of the national UT Alumni Association, was inducted into the UTAA past presidents’ council.
Ledger, a regional sales manager with Lucite International in Memphis, was UTAA president from 2015 to 2016. During his term, he emphasized identifying and recruiting new participants to serve in alumni leadership roles. As a result, the UTAA has recruited new talent to its Board of Governors, Women’s Council and Alumni Legislative Council.
Ledger served as an in-state representative on the UTAA Board of Governors in 2008 and, since then, has served on UTAA’s programming, communication and finance committees.
Established in 1836, the UTAA is one of the oldest alumni organizations among public institutions in the United States and represents alumni, who now number more than 370,000 around the world, from each UT campus.
About the Awards
The Jim and Natalie Haslam Presidential Medal was first presented in 2007 to Sen. Howard H. Baker, Jr. In addition to exemplary giving, leadership and service, honorees demonstrate a willingness and ability to motivate others to support the University, show lifelong devotion to UT and higher education, and have a personal history of integrity and excellence in all aspects of life. Other previous medal winners are John and Ann Tickle (2015), the late Hank Lauricella (2014), R. Clayton McWhorter (2013), Andrea Loughry (2012), former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen (2011), Scott L. Probasco Jr. (2010), the late Pat Summitt (2009) and Peyton Manning (2008).
The Philanthropist of the Year Award also was initiated in 2007 and presented to Jane and David Bailey. Other previous recipients include Bill Blankenship (2015), Donnie and Terry Smith (2014), Dr. Robert Kaplan (2013), Brenda Lawson (2012), Moll and Charles Anderson (2011), John and Ann Tickle (2010), Kathleen and Tom Elam (2009) and Barbara and Ralph Hamilton (2008).