University of Tennessee

College benefactor honored with national philanthropy award

December 28, 2015

James A. Haslam II (’52) will join a select group of business and civic leaders in North America next year when he receives the 2016 Horatio Alger Award. The award has been presented annually since 1947 to recognized leaders who have succeeded, despite facing adversity, and who are committed to both philanthropy and higher education.

Haslam, a former vice chair of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Board of Trustees, is a UT Distinguished Alumnus and former Vol football captain. Haslam founded the Pilot Corp. LLC, which is now Pilot Flying J. Pilot Flying J is the largest operator of travel centers and travel plazas in North America and one of the largest privately held companies in the United States. A dedicated alumnus, Haslam and his wife, Natalie, have made multiple donations to the university and its academic and athletic programs. In 2014, three generations of the Haslam family recognized him with a $50 million gift to his alma mater. In recognition of this gift, the Board of Trustees named the Haslam College of Business in his honor.

“As a respected veteran, savvy entrepreneur and generous philanthropist, Mr. Haslam’s life deeply reflects the principles of Horatio Alger,” said Byron Trott, president and CEO, Horatio Alger Association and 2011 Horatio Alger Award recipient. “Like many of our scholars, Mr. Haslam was the first person in his family to attend college, and with hard work and great determination, he became extraordinarily successful–both professionally and personally. I am pleased to welcome him as a member of the Horatio Alger Association.”

Haslam expressed his support for the Horatio Alger Association, which through its members, aims to educate young people about the limitless opportunities afforded to them by the free enterprise system.

“As the first in my family to pursue and achieve a college degree, I would have never imagined that I would be inducted into such an esteemed organization,” Haslam said. “I only hope that my experience and mentorship will help these promising young scholars realize their true potential and achieve their own dreams of a higher education.”

Horatio Alger Association:

Haslam College of Business: