Peyton pledges $1 million

Former Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning has pledged $1 million to the UT athletics department. The gift, which represents the largest gift from a recent Volunteer student-athlete, will be used to update the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center and toward the master plan renovations at Neyland Stadium.

"Peyton is an outstanding young man and a remarkable role model," University President Dr. John Petersen said. "Since leaving UT, he has continued to be an active advocate for our great university and has been an integral player in helping us secure donations for both athletics and the Knoxville campus."

The latest pledge is the second gift from Manning to the university. He made a major gift in 1998 toward the construction of the Thornton Athletics Student Life Center.

In addition, UT Athletics established the Peyton Manning Scholarship, which is awarded annually to a first-year student participating in UT's Honors Program, in honor of Manning. Funds for the Manning scholarship come from the athletics department as well as various awards he won while at UT as a student-athlete.

Along with his donation, Manning will serve as an honorary co-chair of the university-wide upcoming capital campaign and the athletics capital campaign, which is aimed at providing funding for the master plan renovations of Neyland Stadium, as well as the building of Pratt Pavilion basketball facility, Regal Soccer Stadium, Sherri Parker Lee Softball Stadium and other athletics department initiatives.

"Peyton is a tremendous supporter of Tennessee," said Mike Hamilton, men's athletics director. "He was a passionate leader for UT during his time here and he continues to give generously of his time, his resources and his money to make the University of Tennessee a better place."

Manning is the most decorated athlete in UT history. He left Tennessee as the SEC's all-time leading passer with 11,201 yards, setting 42 passing records during his Vols career that included two NCAA, seven SEC and 33 UT marks. Off the field, Manning won the Draddy Award as National Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 1997 and graduated in three years with a degree in speech communications. He graduated with the highest grade-point average (3.61) in his field.

Manning, whose number was retired along with former UT football players Doug Atkins and the late Reggie White last year, is featured on the ticket for the Vols season opener against California on Sept. 2 as part of UT's tribute to the seven retired numbers.


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