KNOXVILLE – Four University of Tennessee graduates were honored for exceptional service to the University at the annual UT President’s Council Awards Dinner on Friday.
“These volunteer leaders are inspiring role models for all UT alumni in making it possible for the University of Tennessee to educate, discover and connect with Tennesseans across our state every day,” UT President Joe DiPietro said. “People are what make my job great. Not only the students, faculty and staff, but our alumni in communities across the state. I’m thankful for everyone who works tirelessly with UT campuses and institutes to move Tennessee forward.”
President’s Council members are made up of alumni and friends who support higher education in Tennessee and act as the University’s premier advocates.
Friday’s honorees are:
Kimbrough Dunlap, a 1985 UT Knoxville accounting graduate and immediate past president of the national UT Alumni Association, was inducted into the UTAA Past Presidents Council. That group has served as an advisory body to UTAA and a resource for current alumni programs for more than 50 years.
Dunlap was UTAA president in 2016-2017. During his term, he was a proponent of identifying and recruiting new people to serve in alumni leadership roles. As a result, the UTAA has recruited new members to serve on its Board of Governors, Women’s Council and Alumni Legislative Council.
Dunlap’s involvement with UTAA began 15 years ago as a board member of the Davidson County Alumni chapter, ultimately becoming chapter president. Dunlap served on the UTAA Board of Governors from 2008-2011 and was elected to a second term in 2012. As a member of that board, he served on various committees and was chosen president-elect in June 2015. Dunlap now serves as UTAA past president and chair of annual giving. He also holds the alumni representative seat on the UT Foundation Board of Directors.
Dunlap formerly served as president and owner of American Cellular, Inc. He sold the company in 2014.
Waymon Hickman, a 1956 UT Knoxville agricultural education graduate and active volunteer and advocate for the statewide University of Tennessee system, received the President’s Council Award for exceptional service.
Hickman is an advocate for both agriculture and land-grant education. He is a former UT Trustee and is a generous supporter of the UT Institute of Agriculture and its statewide outreach. Hickman has funded scholarships for more than 650 students, including graduate students and those pursuing degrees in veterinary medicine.
Hickman is a retired chairman and CEO of First Farmers & Merchants Bank in Columbia, Tennessee.
Bill Latimer, a 1960 industrial engineering graduate of UT Knoxville who also attended UT Martin and has made the single-largest gift to UT Martin in its history, received the 2017 UT Philanthropist of the Year Award.
Latimer’s long association with the University includes his current membership in the UT President’s Council. He is a former member of the UT Development Council and individual fundraising advisory boards for UT Knoxville, UT Martin and the UT Institute of Agriculture. He is a former president of the UT Martin Development Committee and has supported scholarships at UT Martin and UT Chattanooga. He was the principal contributor to the UT Health Science Center College of Dentistry clinic in Union City and is a 1996 graduate of UT Martin’s WestStar Leadership Program.
Latimer’s 2016 gift of $6.5 million toward a new engineering and science building at UT Martin is the largest recorded by the campus and supports a 120,000-square foot facility to house UT Martin’s departments of engineering, computer science, chemistry and physics, mathematics and statistics and an entrepreneurial center.
In making the donation, Latimer said education is one of the most important ways of breaking the cycle of poverty and that he hopes education provided in the new building will enable an increased standard of living for its alumni and that more of them will make their homes in West Tennessee.
Jim and Sandy Powell, he a 1959 UT Knoxville agriculture graduate, have both long funded scholarships to enable others similar opportunities as he had as a student. The Powells received the Jim and Natalie Haslam Presidential Medal for a distinguished record of supporting the University through exemplary giving, volunteer leadership and service.
Jim Powell met and married Sandy Powell while attending UT. After graduation, he joined his cousin’s company, Powell Erection, in Knoxville. In 1969, Powell founded his own business, Powell Construction Company, which now has offices in Tennessee, West Virginia and Australia.
In 1980, Powell began funding scholarships at UT and East Tennessee State University. Later, he established the Powell Foundation that supports about 200 students a year.
Powell was chair of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission from 2002 until 2006. He chaired the UT Institute of Agriculture’s steering committee for the University’s bicentennial capital campaign.
Powell’s support has benefited programs of the UT Institute of Agriculture, UT College of Veterinary Medicine, 4-H, UT Knoxville athletics and the UT Knoxville School of Music. Powell’s support led the School of Music’s $3.5-million initiative to become an “All-Steinway” school and established the Sandra G. Powell Recital Hall in his wife’s honor. The Powells live on a 300-acre farm in Limestone, Tennessee, where he raises Black Angus cattle and restores Farmall tractors.
About the Awards
The President’s Council Service Awards recognize exceptional service in the advancement of the University toward the achievement of excellence. Previous recipients include Phillip Fulmer, Jim Duke and Dr. Phil Wenk.
The Philanthropist of the Year Award was initiated in 2007 and presented to Jane and David Bailey. Other past recipients include Jim and Judi Herbert (2016), 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).
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 winners are Dr. Bob Kaplan (2016), John and Ann Tickle (2015), Hank Lauricella (2014), R. Clayton McWhorter (2013), Andrea Loughry (2012), former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen (2011), Scott L. Probasco Jr. (2010), Pat Summitt (2009) and Peyton Manning (2008).