Funding Student Dreams

UT Martin student Amanda Cain is one of 185 UT students across the state who benefit from UTAA-funded scholarships. Photo by Trevor Ruszkowski

By Chandra Harris-McCray

UT Martin Student Amanda Cain Pursues Goal of Being Veterinarian

At age 3, Amanda Cain knew she wanted to be a veterinarian.

She grew up on a 250-acre farm in Dowelltown, where her family raised beef cattle and also had rabbits, goats, horses, chickens, cats and dogs. At UT Martin, Amanda is studying animal science with a veterinary science emphasis. “I am actually living out my dream,” she says.

Her dream wouldn’t have been possible without a scholarship from the UT Alumni Association’s Fund for the Future. After just three years at UT Martin, Amanda will graduate this spring and fulfill another dream by becoming a debt-free college graduate. She plans to attend vet school.

“None of it would be possible without the alumni association,” says Amanda, “and the generosity of strangers who continue to invest in me.”

Since 1906, the UT Alumni Association (UTAA) has been making dreams come true for students like Amanda by underwriting the largest privately funded scholarship program at the University. This year, 185 students on UT campuses throughout the state are the beneficiaries of UTAA-funded scholarships valued at more than $450,000.

The alumni association is proud of this tradition but wants to do more. With decreased state appropriations and increased tuition, the University needs more scholarships to compete for highly sought-after students, and the UTAA wants to lead the charge.

As the financial backbone of the alumni association, the Fund for the Future is critical, not only to fund more student scholarships but also to enhance the alumni experience by expanding programs and providing more meaningful experiences.

“The UT Alumni Association is unique in that we do not have membership dues, so donors to the Fund for the Future have a tremendous impact on the depth and quality of our programs,” says Brian Hardy, UTAA development director.

Contributors who support the Fund for the Future benefit the entire University and help the alumni association meet its most pressing needs, Hardy says.

“Our job is to showcase the university by sharing the great things being done on our campuses,” he says. “Those who give to the Fund for the Future help us bring our campuses to our alumni, whether that’s in Nashville, Atlanta or Dallas. They also provide scholarship dollars to outstanding students, help us recognize top faculty and assist with our new alumni career services program.”

To learn more about how the UTAA’s Fund for the Future is making an impact and how you can support UTAA programs and students like Amanda, visit