News from The Foundation

2020 UTFI Honor Roll Recipients

The UT Foundation Honor Roll awards recognize significant achievements of staff based on self-development, teamwork and leadership.

Congratulations to our 2020 recipients.

Effective Leader: Jessy Lawrence

Recognizing leadership by example

Throughout the current pandemic, Jessy, as Senior Director of Advancement Communication at UT Knoxville, has gone above and beyond for both her team and alumni, donors and friends of the University. Over six months of remote work she has created an online resource center for efficiency, and lead the redesign and implementation of the new UT Knoxville alumni and giving website. Jessy is an exceedingly positive and supportive team leader and is always available and accessible for her team. As her team works through a variety of projects, Jessy remains well informed of progress and offers assistance every step of the way.

Synergy Award: Grace Tang

Recognizing teamwork and successful implementation of a program or project leading to efficiency

Over the past year, Grace, a business intelligence analyst, has created, revised and maintained many priority reports and dashboards that are utilized across the UT System. Both internally and externally, Grace has made an impact on fundraising efforts by providing users with the tools they need to make important business decisions. When users asked for a simpler way to display and find dashboard, Grace answered the call by creating a navigation dashboard for user. In addition, she developed reports navigation dashboard for her team to track the reports currently scheduled. Not only has Grace been a vital team member to the synergy of UTFI, but contributed greatly to overall efficiency.

Impact Award: Adam Heller

Recognizing outstanding performance that has impacted beyond the individual’s campus or unit.

Adam joined the UTFI staff as the chief financial officer in October of 2019. In this short time, Adam’s impact can be felt throughout the organization and University. He quickly entrenched himself in learning our operations and finding where we could be more efficient and productive. To better streamline gifts of stock and securities, Adam moved the Foundation to BNY Mellon, a company that offers a broader range of services and specializes in foundations and nonprofit organizations. As the University began implementing the new Concur travel program, Adam saw the need for training tailored to the specific needs of UTFI employees. Utilizing his team, he built out a training program to help simplify the transition to Concur and create continued support for staff. In addition, he worked with the UTFI board and staff to change the investment strategy on funds held by the Foundation in order to strengthen the returns. Overall, he has brought a renewed energy to the UTFI Business Office and positively impacted the Foundation.

Esteem Award: Eric Haag

Recognizing professional accomplishment

This fall, Eric, senior director of alumni affairs at UT Knoxville, applied for the CAAE Fellowship Program and was awarded the prestigious Robert G. Forman Fellowship. This Fellowship is awarded to individuals with five or more years of professional experience in alumni relations at CAAE member institutions or senior-level experience at another organization. He is the first fellowship recipient through CAAE for the University of Tennessee and not only will this bring great recognition to our university and alumni program, but it will provide Eric with an invaluable learning and growth opportunity.