Simply the Best

Simply the Best

By Anna Montgomery

University of Tennessee alumni and friends are leaders in their chosen fields and well known for their accomplishments. This is especially true of the five individuals chosen to receive the university’s highest honors for 2008. The presentations were made at the UT Development Council Awards Dinner last fall in Knoxville.

Volunteer of the Year—Distinguished Alumnus Award

Chad Holliday

Chad O. Holliday worked his way to the top of DuPont, where he serves as CEO and chairman of the board. The 1970 UT Knoxville graduate is well known for his efforts to make DuPont as environmentally responsive as possible.

Holliday started work at DuPont in Nashville shortly after receiving a degree in industrial engineering. He advanced steadily and in 1998 was appointed DuPont’s chief executive officer. A year later he was named chairman of the board.

Under Holliday’s direction, DuPont established a goal of sustainable growth—increasing shareholder and societal value while decreasing the company’s environmental footprint. Since then, DuPont has evolved from a chemical company to a science-based products and services company. Last year DuPont reported revenues of $29.4 billion and employed more than 60,000 people worldwide.

In 2004 Holliday was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and became chairman of the Business Roundtable’s Task Force for Environment, Technology and Economy. When he was chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, he co-authored Walking the Talk, which details the business case for sustainable development and corporate responsibility.

Holliday is a member of the Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy, the only national forum of business CEOs and chairpersons focused exclusively on corporate philanthropy.

Holliday received the Captains of Industry Award from the Institute of Industrial Engineers in 2007, the International Leadership Award from the U.S. Council for International Business, and the UT Knoxville College of Engineering’s highest honor, the Nathan W. Dougherty Award, in 1999. He is co-chair of the Campaign Leadership Committee for the UT Knoxville College of Engineering.

He and his wife, Ann Blair Holliday, live in Rockland, Delaware, and have two sons, Chad and Scott. In addition to the University of Tennessee, the Hollidays support the Delaware Art Museum.

Jim and Natalie Haslam Presidential Medal

Peyton Manning

As a student at UT, Peyton Manning (Knoxville ’97) was a class act in the classroom and on the football field. He was one of the finest quarterbacks ever to play college football and continues to be a respected member of the UT family. This year he became the second recipient of the Jim and Natalie Haslam Presidential Medal, the UT system’s highest alumni award, which recognizes the alumnus who best demonstrates superior leadership, philanthropy, and service to the university. Last year the inaugural award went to former senator Howard H. Baker Jr.

Manning finished his career at UT holding 42 NCAA, SEC, and Tennessee records. As an All American quarterback, he received the Maxwell Award, the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, and the Sullivan Award. He was a two-time Academic All-American, won the Draddy Award as the nation’s top scholar-athlete, and was named to the American Football Coaches Association’s Good Works Team.

He was selected by the Indianapolis Colts as the number-one draft choice in 1998 and led his team to the Super Bowl XLI title while earning the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player honor. Manning has played in eight Pro Bowls and was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 2003 and 2004.

Manning helps at-risk youth through the PeyBack Foundation that he and his wife, Memphis native Ashley Thompson Manning, founded in 1999. The foundation has provided more than $3 million to help youth in Louisiana, Tennessee, and Indiana.

Since 1998 the university has presented the Peyton Manning Scholarship to a freshman honors student. The scholarship is funded from gifts to the university garnered from Manning’s academic awards, the UT Athletics Department’s matching grants program, and other gifts. Current student-athletes study in the Peyton Manning Study Area located in the Thornton Athletics Student Life Center.
Manning’s $1-million gift to the Campaign for Tennessee supports the renovation of Neyland Stadium and the Neyland–Thompson Sports Center.

Since Manning was preparing for a Colts game and unable to attend the awards dinner, his wife accepted on his behalf. Peyton Manning also sent a video expressing his appreciation.

“If there is a humanitarian cause needing a champion, Jim or Natalie Haslam—or both of them—will be working to make it happen and urging others to do the same,” said Manning.

“After all, the highest calling anyone can have, in my book, is giving a young person a chance to succeed, and Jim and Natalie have helped thousands of young people do just that.”

Philanthropists of the Year

Barbara and Ralph Hamilton

Memphis philanthropists Ralph and Barbara Hamilton had a dream that people in Tennessee and the Mid-South region could have access to the best eye care in the world right here in Tennessee. And they made it happen.

Dr. Ralph Hamilton grew up in Knoxville and earned degrees from UT Knoxville (’50), the University of Pennsylvania, and the UT College of Medicine (’52). He is a professor and former head of the Department of Ophthalmology at the UT Health Science Center in Memphis.

He is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and many other professional societies. In 1999 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Health Care from the Memphis Business Journal, as well as the UT Health Science Center College of Medicine’s Outstanding Alumnus Award.

Barbara Hamilton is a graduate of Rhodes College, has volunteered at the Methodist Hospital in Germantown for many years, and served as a trustee of Lambuth College in 2000. She has supported charitable endeavors at all three institutions. They have three children, Ralph and Warren Hamilton and Helen Laurenzi.

The Hamiltons have also supported the Le Bonheur Healthcare Center of Excellence in Faith and Health. The center will serve as a location to train clergy and healthcare workers, an interfaith place of worship, and a counseling center.

In addition to supporting the eye institute that bears their names, the Hamiltons established the Hamilton Endowed Professorship in Ophthalmology. The Hamilton Eye Institute consistently ranks among the nation’s top 10 for education, research, and patient care. Ralph Hamilton serves as chair of the Development Council of Ophthalmology at UTHSC.

UT Development Council Service Award

John Sorey III

With dedication and exuberance, John Sorey (Nashville ’74) led the UT ­Development Council from 2002 to 2004.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Tech and a Master of Business Administration degree from UT Nashville, and he went to the Harvard University Graduate School of Education’s Management Development Program. He served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and was awarded a Bronze Star.

Sorey is president and owner of Management Support Systems Inc. in Naples, Florida, where he and his wife, Delores, live. In 2008 he was re-elected to a second term on the Naples City Council. Sorey is vice-chair of the Big Cypress Basin Board, chair of the Coastal Advisory Board, secretary of the Audubon of Florida Board, board member of the Naples Players and Naples Zoo, and vice-president of the Harvard Club of Naples. He also served on the UT Martin Development Committee.

The Soreys have hosted many alumni and donor events in their home. They established a $3-million charitable annuity to support the UT Martin LEAD Academy, which promotes undergraduate leadership development. They have two children, John F. Sorey IV and Scarlett Sorey Ferguson.