Banker and Volunteer

Nancy Collum Stays Close to UTC

By Chandra Harris-McCray

Nancy Collum wasn’t sure what she wanted to study at UTC.

“I was always envious of those who knew they wanted to be a doctor at the age of 10,” she says. “I had no such premonitions.”

Collum honed her left-brain skills and declared accounting as her concentration in UTC’s College of Business. It was a decision that has netted a 35-plus year career in the banking industry, initially at SunTrust Bank in Chattanooga and now at Northwest Georgia Bank in Ringgold, Ga., where she serves as vice president of loan review.

Her college electives—English, French, music—filled her right-brain tank, “but I knew I needed something more,” says the 1978 graduate. “I thought I was more likely to be able to earn a living with a business degree than if I majored in liberal arts. Although my grandmother asked me weekly about becoming a teacher or a nurse because she thought those were the only options a female had at the time.”

“I remain grateful for the Andy Holt Scholarship I received,” she says.

Growing up in the East Brainerd neighborhood, Collum was practically in UTC’s backyard, so she commuted to campus when she became a Moc. Forgoing a home-cooked meal became the norm.

“I wanted to volunteer at the alumni events or study on campus,” she says. “I loved being in the midst of everything on campus.”

She still does. Living blocks away from campus in Chattanooga’s Fort Wood National Historic District, she has quietly worked behind the scenes as the UTC Alumni Council president and the UT National Alumni Association vice president. She’s been a member of the UT Women’s Council, Board of Governors, University of Chattanooga Foundation, Chancellor’s Roundtable and the UTC Athletics Board.

She has served on the advisory board for accounting and finance at UTC and as the finance advisor for Alpha Delta Pi, which resulted in the recognition of Outstanding Greek Alum in 1992.

Her dedicated service continues to rub off on the rest of the Chattanooga community at the Walter E. Boehm Birth Defects Center and the United Way of Greater Chattanooga, where she received its Community Investment Service Award in 2002. In 2008, she was named a Woman of Distinction by the Chattanooga chapter of the American Lung Association.