University of Tennessee

Pryse and Trust Company of Tennessee Endow New Directorship for Masters Investment Learning Center

April 1, 2021

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business has announced a gift from Sharon Pryse (HCB, ‘72) and her investment firm, The Trust Company of Tennessee, to endow a directorship for the college’s Masters Investment Learning Center (MILC).

Tracie Woidtke, Sharp/Home Federal Bank of Tennessee Professor and head of the Haslam finance department, made the announcement virtually during the department’s annual advisory council meeting. As the MILC’s current director, Laura Cole is the first beneficiary of the endowment, which will be known as the Sharon Pryse/The Trust Company of Tennessee MILC Directorship. 

“With this directorship, Laura Cole will be able to devote more time to build upon what has already been accomplished through the Masters Investment Learning Center and have an even greater impact,” said Woidtke. “I am excited to see what will be accomplished.”

The MILC is designed to be a resource where Haslam students can gain an understanding of financial markets by accessing, analyzing and interpreting economic data. The center houses 20 Bloomberg terminals — software databases that provide access to real-time financial market data, news and analytics for more than 174 countries and 360 exchanges. In 2019, UT ranked first worldwide for the number of students earning Bloomberg Market Concepts certification.

“I was elated to find out that Sharon Pryse and The Trust Company of Tennessee had so generously endowed the directorship for the Masters Investment Learning Center,” said Cole. “For years I have admired Sharon as one of the top finance professionals in Knoxville, and the fact that she is a woman made it all the more impressive, given we are in a male-dominated field. Her intellectual prowess, fortitude and asset management savvy are traits which I hope to emulate in my day-to-day management of the investment center.”

Pryse graduated from UT with a degree in finance and worked her way up to senior vice president at Valley Fidelity Bank before leaving in 1987 to start The Trust Company of Tennessee, which now manages $4 billion in assets. She is a member of Haslam’s Advisory Council to the Dean and has served on UT’s Board of Trustees and numerous nonprofit boards. She has worked extensively with the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce, where she served as chamber chair from 1999 to 2001.

“I’m so pleased to be able to support the wonderful work that is being done to ensure our finance students leave Haslam with the most up-to-the-minute markets experience,” said Pryse. “Hands on work in the field is one of the key differentiators of our graduates, and this directorship will directly support the MILC’s ability to engage students.” 

Because the endowment provides faculty support, a strategic priority area for the college, it is eligible to receive matching funds through the Haslam Matching Gift Program.

Stacy Estep, writer/publicist,