Women in Philanthropy Symposium

The Women and Philanthropy Symposium, the Alliance of Women Philanthropists’ signature event focusing on philanthropy, volunteerism, and leadership is presented each year to thank Alliance members for their support of the University of Tennessee’s campuses and programs. Each year focuses on a theme and the event features university women speaking on that theme.

2024 Womens Symposium

Save the Date

Women & Philanthropy Symposium
“Tech Talks”

Friday, April 26, 2024

The Press Room
730 N. Broadway
Knoxville, TN 37917

Judi Herbert - Brenda Lawson Legacy Award Winner

Brenda G. Lawson Legacy of Leadership Award Winner:
Judi Herbert (UTK '63)

2024 Symposium Speakers

The Brenda G. Lawson Legacy of Leadership Award

The Alliance of Women Philanthropists was created to acknowledge the capacity of women to be influential donors to UT and to recognize them in more meaningful and personal ways. The Alliance takes pride in celebrating the remarkable accomplishments of women leaders and their philanthropic efforts, community service, and volunteerism.

The Alliance created the Brenda G. Lawson Legacy of Leadership Award to recognize women who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in these areas. This award is bestowed upon an exceptional woman who embodies the highest level of excellence in her work as a community leader and has devoted considerable time and energy to improve the quality of life for others at UT. The award is announced and presented during the Symposium each year.

Award Criteria

  • Committed to furthering the goals of the Alliance of Women Philanthropists
  • Supports the University of Tennessee through contributions of talent, time, and financial means
  • Dedicated to supporting UT in its instructional, research, outreach and fundraising initiatives
  • Educates, empowers, and inspires women to be philanthropic leaders at the University of Tennessee
  • Encompasses a variety of ideals including volunteerism, generosity, sacrifice, compassion, sensitivity, and humility

Past Brenda G. Lawson Legacy of Leadership Award Winners

Betty Ann Tanner is an interior decorator and owner of Betty Ann Tanner Accessories. Her Washington, DC non-profit boards include Ford’s Theatre Society, The Congressional Club and International Student House.

She served on the Board of Meridian International Center from 2005-2010 and co-chaired the Meridian Ball in 2007. She also previously chaired the First Lady’s Luncheon and Prevent Cancer Foundation Gala. She is a trustee with the University of Tennessee and serves on the board of Discovery Park of America in Tennessee where she resides with her husband former Congressman John Tanner, when she is not in Washington.

Jodie McTeer Johnson, Recipient of The Brenda G. Lawson Legacy of Leadership Award(1944-2021) In Memoria — Jodie McTeer Johnson (UTK ’66) was a dedicated supporter of her alma mater. From her start on the Panhellenic Council to her lifelong sisterhood in Kappa Delta, Jodie loved the University of Tennessee. Along with her husband, Johnny, the Johnsons have been long-time philanthropists supporting Tennessee Athletics, McClung Museum, the UT Gardens, the AWP Giving Circle Grants program and many other community organizations. Jodie’s philanthropy and friendship influenced the lives of many, and the UT Alliance of Women Philanthropists were honored to have Jodie serve on the Alliance of Women Philanthropists Executive Board for the past ten and to share in her leadership as Board Chair for two consecutive terms.

Natalie Haslam, Recipient of The Brenda G. Lawson Legacy of Leadership AwardA native Knoxvillian, Natalie Haslam graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1952. She has been an active volunteer and philanthropist in Knoxville. Natalie was the first woman to be president of the Knoxville Symphony Society and has been president of the East Tennessee Foundation and the East Tennessee Historical Society. She was a founding board member of the Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and has served on the boards of the Tennessee Arts Commission, Child and Family Services, Knoxville Zoo, Maryville College, Webb School of Knoxville, Wellness Community and Junior League. A graduate of the Leadership Knoxville Class of ’86, she also has been president of the Knoxville Garden Club and the Arts Council for Greater Knoxville.

She was the recipient of the National Conference for Community and Justice Award in 1996. In 2003, she received the Governor’s Award from the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Knoxville Award from the Senior Citizens Home Assistance Services.

The University of Tennessee’s music school, the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center, was named after her in recognition of the support she and her family have given to the school over many years.

Andrea Loughry, recipient of The Brenda G. Lawson Legacy of Leadership AwardAndrea Loughry is a dedicated supporter of her alma mater, having served as vice-chair of the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees and as the first female chair of the UT Foundation Board. Andrea was appointed to the Tennessee Arts Commission in 2014, by then Governor Bill Haslam, where she has served in leadership roles as vice-chair, and audit and allocations chair. She served as the first female chair of the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce and has been selected as one of their Business Legends.

A graduate of the University of Tennessee, Andrea taught for ten years at MTSU and then opened an independent insurance agency. She later became the founding chair of the Mind2Marketplace, an organization dedicated to bringing the best and brightest ideas in Middle Tennessee to reality. After a career in business, she now serves as President Emeritus of Miller-Loughry-Beach Insurance Services, Inc.

Anne Holt Blackburn, recipient of The Brenda G. Lawson Legacy of Leadership AwardAnne Holt Blackburn, Nashville’s most veteran TV news anchor, was one of thirteen children born to a family of sharecroppers in West Tennessee. She graduated from UT in 1973 with a BS in broadcasting and retired in January 2017 from her duties as TV news anchor at WKRN-TV in Nashville, where she worked for forty years.

She has received many awards and honors, including eight Emmys, the George Foster Peabody Award for the investigative documentary Under the Influence, and the 2007 Governor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement—the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ highest honor. The Nashville Conference on Community and Justice awarded her the Jerry Thompson Communicator’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994, when she was also the first recipient of the College of Communication and Information’s Donald G. Hileman Distinguished Alumni Award. The first woman, the first African American, and the first news anchor to receive the Distinguished Service Award from the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters, Blackburn was inducted into the first class of the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame in 2013.

Blackburn is a community servant, generously giving back to UT, Nashville, and Tennessee. She served on the College of Communication and Information Board of Visitors (1990–2007) and on the UT Board of Trustees (2007–2013). She has led News 2’s twenty-eight-year partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee and served on many charitable boards, including Book ’em, Leadership Nashville, Cumberland Valley Girl Scouts, the Middle Tennessee March of Dimes, Inroads/Nashville, and the United Way of Middle Tennessee.

Margaret Perry, recipient of The Brenda G. Lawson Legacy of Leadership Award Margaret Perry has always been a trailblazer with the determination to get things done. She was the first female dean for graduate studies at UT Knoxville, then first female associate vice president for academic affairs at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, and in 1986 she was appointed to serve as the sixth chancellor of UT Martin. She was the first UT Martin alumna to serve as the institution’s chancellor and the first woman to be appointed chancellor or president of any university in Tennessee. During her eleven years as chancellor, UT Martin flourished, transformed by major building expansions, unprecedented enrollment growth, the accreditation of all campus programs, the surpassing of funding goals for the University system’s 21st Century Campaign, and the school’s athletic standing being increased to a Division 1 athletics program.

Ann Furrow, recipient of The Brenda G. Lawson Legacy of Leadership AwardFirst Lady of Tennessee, Ann Furrow was the pioneer of Lady Vols Golf playing on the men’s team at UT in 1964 and 1965. Not only was she the first woman to play a men’s varsity sport at the University of Tennessee, she was also on a full men’s scholarship during her collegiate career.

In addition to being the first woman golfer at Tennessee, she was the first woman ever appointed to the UT Board of Trustees and served for 18 years. At the age of 26, she was also the youngest person ever to be selected as a member of the board.

Furrow put together an accomplished career as an amateur golfer, winning various tournaments and receiving high national rankings. She was a five-time Tennessee Women’s Amateur Champion, with victories in the event spanning nearly 20 years. After winning the Western Junior Golf Association Championships in 1961 and placing second at the USGA National Amateur in 1962, she became the top-ranked junior golfer and the 10th-ranked female golfer overall in the United States.

Not only has Furrow endowed a full scholarship at UT Knoxville, she has also worked closely with the Lady Vol development office in raising more than $2 million toward fully endowing the UT women’s golf team. She is also a pillar of the community holding positions on numerous boards, including the Covenant Health Board, the Fort Sanders Foundation, the National Board of AnGeL Ministries, the International Board of Joni and Friends, the Spiritual Heritage Knoxville Board and the Spiritual Heritage Nantucket Board.

Contact Alliance

Program Director

Melissa Smith
Director of Alumni Marketing
and Special Events [email protected]
(865) 974-7544

Get in Touch

(865) 974-2115 or send us an email at [email protected].

Physical Address

Alliance for Women Philanthropists
1525 University Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37921

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