Friends and alumni of the University of Tennessee helped the school reach a financial milestone earlier this month as a part of the university’s annual “Big Orange Give” donor drive.
The one day, online giving campaign raised $1.45 million dollars through social media and marketing efforts targeted towards alumni and other individuals associated with UT. This campaign marked the fourth such donor drive in four years, with half of the sum total donations coming from UT alumni Jim and Judi Herbert who contributed $500,000.
Originally hailing from a rural Memphis farm, Jim would go on to co-found Neogen Corporation after graduating from UT in 1962. The publicly held company is renowned for its rapid diagnostic testing development, manufacturing and marketing of products for food and animal safety.
The campaign is unique in that contributors are given the opportunity to choose what portion of the university their money will go towards. Popular choices include specific departments and colleges within the university, as well as university organizations, sororities and fraternities.
Commenting on the importance of the donor-driven event, Senior Director of Alumni and Development Communications for the University of Tennessee Haylee Marshall said that unlike some campaign drives, the effects of the “Big Orange Give” are immediately evident in the lives of the university’s students.
“A lot of times, alumni will say ‘well I don’t know how my $100 gift will make a difference,” Marshall said. “We have a lot of students who are at UT who are here because of the scholarships they receive, and they wouldn’t be here without our donor support. Donors truly are changing lives every day.”

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