Russell Crook, professor of management at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business, was named to the newly endowed First Tennessee Foundation Professorship during a reception on May 2.
Crook hopes to leverage the First Tennessee Foundation Professorship to secure more visibility for UT, enhance the research profile at Haslam and devote more time to solving research problems at the speed of business.
“This professorship is accomplishing part of a professional dream,” Crook said. “I am honored and humbled to be named the inaugural First Tennessee Foundation Professor. It is thrilling to become affiliated with such a fantastic organization and UT partner.”
Pam Fansler, east market chairman for First Tennessee, was honored at the reception as well. She will retire in July after 40 years of supporting UT and the local community. In her speech, Fansler praised Crook’s publications on strategy and entrepreneurship factors that allow some firms to perform better than others.
“These are topics not only of critical interest to First Tennessee in our business, but also crucial to the success of our business customers,” Fansler said.
Dave Miller, east market president for First Tennessee and Fansler’s successor, said First Tennessee Bank and the First Tennessee Foundation are committed to a joint partnership with UT as the university continues to rise in national rankings.
“We feel that in our role as the state’s largest bank it is incumbent upon us to support the university,” Miller said. “That’s a relationship I look forward to continuing to grow and support.”
Stephen L. Mangum, dean and Stokely Foundation Leadership Chair at Haslam, said faculty support is a major category identified in the college’s current development campaign.
“This philanthropic investment by the First Tennessee Foundation contributes to our campaign, and we are most grateful to the Foundation for furthering our capabilities as a business school,” Mangum said. “Absent competitiveness in this area we cannot operate among the very best of the nation's business schools. Named professorships provide special recognition to a faculty member's work, as well as compensation supplements, which increases a faculty member’s sense of value and attachment to the institution.”
Anne Smith, King and Judy Rogers Professor in Business and head of UT’s management department, said Crook is a deserving recipient.
“He is one of the most prolific researchers at Haslam and is an internationally recognized expert on meta-analysis,” Smith said. “The First Tennessee Foundation Professorship will allow us to retain talent through external recognition of professors’ achievements and funding of their research priorities.”
The First Tennessee Foundation has been a long-standing partner of UT and Haslam, endowing events such as the college's MBA symposium, which brings high-profile business leaders to campus to interact with Haslam MBA students and the Knoxville business community.