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Alumni Gala

The twelfth annual Alumni Awards Gala will be held Friday, November 12, 2021. The annual gala benefits the College Fund for the Haslam College of Business.

The evening kicks off with cocktails at 6 p.m. followed by dinner and the presentation of awards. This year's award ceremony will recognize the 2021 distinguished alum, outstanding entrepreneur, outstanding corporate partner and outstanding young alum.

To become an event corporate partner or table corporate partner in 2021, please contact the Office of Advancement at (865) 974-6083.

Event Corporate Partner
$5,000 includes table partner benefits plus logo recognition on invitation, on event marketing materials, and at event.

Table Corporate Partner
$2,500 includes a table of eight seats and name recognition at event.

2018 Gala Photo Gallery      Previous Recipients

Alumni Awards

Distinguished Alum Award

Distinguished Alum Award recipients are extraordinary professionals who personify leadership. Through their vision, intellect, passion for excellence, and boldness of spirit, these individuals have touched countless lives.

Our distinguished alumni share two common characteristics of which we are both proud and grateful: each is an alum of the Haslam College of Business, and each has generously invested in the college in a multitude of ways.

Entrepreneur of the Year

As the largest influence on American job growth, entrepreneurship is a vital part of business education. The Haslam College recognizes the importance of entrepreneurship in the global economy and is committed to providing its students the foundation necessary for future entrepreneurial growth. In recognition of the entrepreneurial spirit embraced by the college, the Entrepreneur of the Year award spotlights an alum who shares this same passion.

Outstanding Corporate Partner Award

Haslam College corporate partners invest in the college by giving of time, talent, and financial philanthropic support. Hiring students as interns, recruiting recent graduates as employees, mentoring students in the classroom, and providing resources through financial gifts are just a few examples of the ways these organizations invest in business education. The Outstanding Corporate Partner Award recognizes organizations that have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to the success of the college’s students, faculty, and programs.

Corporate Partners

We would like to thank all our corporate partners for their continued support for the Haslam College of Business.

Outstanding Young Alum Award

The Haslam College has successful alumni of all ages, many of whom acheived professional excellence early in their careers. The Outstanding Young Alum Award recognizes alumni aged 40 or younger who have demonstrated records of achievement, leadership, and promising futures in business disciplines.


Larry Carroll

Larry Carroll – 2019 Distinguished Alum

Larry Carroll (HCB, ’78), founder and CEO of Carroll Financial Associates, was the first person from his family to graduate from college, but he credits his parents with his talent for crunching numbers.

“Both of my parents were very intelligent, just not highly educated, and both have good mathematical and analytical skills, which I was fortunate enough to inherit,” he says.

Those inherited aptitudes for mathematics and analysis served Carroll in good stead, as he became a CPA while still in the MBA program in UT’s Haslam College of Business. His goal was to work for one of the Big Eight accounting firms, but inspired by renowned financial advisor Kemp Fain, whom he met in Knoxville, he soon changed direction.

“I really liked the discussion of investments and, importantly, had a knack for the subject matter,” he says. “After graduation, I went to work for one of the big eight firms, but within two years founded the wealth management firm.”

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Jerry Bostelman

Jerry Bostelman – 2019 Outstanding Entrepreneur

Vaco (va - cō), verb: to free oneself from a master. (Latin)

Vaco is also a unique talent solutions and placement firm, connecting job seekers to dream jobs, headquartered in Nashville. The brainchild of CEO Jerry Bostelman (HCB, ’94) and his partners Brian Waller (HCB, ’96) and Jay Hollomon (HCB, ’90), the company sprang from the trio’s experiences at Arthur Andersen and a rival firm.

“We wanted to combine the camaraderie that we loved so much at Arthur Andersen,” Bostelman says, “with the pace, intensity and service-orientation of the other to create a consultative, engaged, voice-driven environment” in a niche service for which they all had a passion.

To put it another way, Vaco’s business is relationships – identifying the perfect match between stellar job seekers and outstanding employers. Finding ideal job fits within the organization for talented misfits is also Vaco’s business. “Outlaws Welcome” is its core business tenet, in which every associate’s inner outlaw should enhance all others’ outlaws. It’s the ultimate expression of a relationship-oriented culture.

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FedEx Logo

FedEx – 2019 Outstanding Corporate Partner

Frederick W. Smith started what was Federal Express in 1973 with 14 jets and delivery service to 25 cities. Today, FedEx operations span the globe and drive commerce worldwide. Today as FedEx Corporation, it connects more than 99 percent of global GDP and billions of people across six continents – enabling economic growth and social progress for individuals, communities and businesses.

The demand for FedEx services is growing, and the supply chain of the future will need to grow with it. That is one reason the company partners with the Haslam College of Business and its top-ranked Department of Supply Chain Management. Through endowments like the FedEx Corporation Supply Chain Professorship, FedEx supports Haslam in attracting forward-thinking educators to teach students the capabilities required to excel and succeed in business. Innovators from Haslam and elsewhere will help FedEx fine-tune the next generation of supply chain and logistics to make it accessible, reliable and sustainable. 

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Dena vonWerssowetz

Dena vonWerssowetz - 2019 Outstanding Young Alum

Two threads interweave through Dena vonWerssowetz’s (HCB, ’07, ’09) academic and professional careers: Pursuing her passions and paying it forward for others to do likewise. Growing up in Tennessee, she was a fan of University of Tennessee sports, especially Lady Vols basketball. Although other colleges offered her sports scholarships, she followed her passion to UT. 

“When I was growing up, I always knew I wanted to come here,” she says.

Meriting the King Rogers Jr. Scholarship helped pay her way at UT. The scholarship was the kind of gesture that vonWerssowetz knew, when it was within her means, she would one day pay forward. 

vonWerssowetz obtained a bachelor’s in finance, but she was keen to do more: “I went back to school knowing that I wanted to do marketing and get closer to the consumer,” she explains.

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