Centennial Alumni

Gary Wade

Former Tennessee Supreme Court Justice

UT Knoxville, ’70, ’73

Gary Wade

Retired Tennessee Supreme Court Justice. Dean of Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law. Vol for Life.

All of those describe Gary Wade, whose service to Tennessee spans nearly three decades.

After completing an undergraduate degree in psychology and a law degree, Wade worked in private practice in his hometown of Sevierville, Tennessee, where he was elected mayor in 1977 and served five successive terms.

After that, he became a judge for the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals for 19 years and was its presiding judge for eight of those years. Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen appointed Wade to the Tennessee Supreme Court in 2006. He also served as the court’s chief justice for two years.

Wade retired in 2015 to become vice president and dean of Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law.

“In my family, the blood runs orange,” Wade says. “During the most impressionable years of my life, I felt a part of the extended Andy Holt-Ed Boling UT family. The friendships I made and continue to cherish are clearly my favorite memories.”

There’s plenty of orange in the Wade family.

“My wife, Sandy, my three brothers and my three grown children (Zach, Katie and Gigi) have accumulated 10 degrees from UT over the years,” he says. “Whatever success I’ve had in my career, I attribute in great measure to the administration, the faculty and the staff of my alma mater.”

In 2013, Wade established the Chief Justice Gary R. Wade Endowed Scholarship at the UT College of Law to support students interested in public service careers. Wade also is co-founder and chairman emeritus of the Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.