Recognized for supporting the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture

Waymon Hickman
University of Tennessee alumnus Wayman Hickman of Columbia, Tenn., has received a national award for his lifelong philantropic efforts on behalf of the UT Institute of Agriculture. Download a high resolution image.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – He's won multiple awards for his service to the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. He's an advocate for agriculture and the land-grant system. He’s served on the UT Board of Trustees. He's a generous supporter of UTIA and its many programs that enhance the lives of Tennesseans daily. Now, Waymon Hickman, of Columbia, Tenn., is the first UTIA supporter to receive a national philanthropy award.
 
Hickman, a 1956 agricultural education graduate of the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, has been recognized with the 2013 Ruby C. McSwain NAADA Outstanding Philanthropist Award. The National Agricultural Alumni and Development Association sponsors the award, which honors an individual with a record of sustained giving to support agriculture, agriculture higher education, Extension or land-grant universities. The award also recognizes individuals for their roles as advocates for agriculture and natural resources and for their philanthropy in the community.
 
"Mr. Hickman's record of giving — of his time, business acumen and personal wealth — spans decades," said Larry Arrington, UTIA chancellor. "In addition to his numerous smaller gifts, Mr. Hickman has provided generous support of all components of the land-grant mission through a $1 million-plus endowment."
 
Arrington says the endowment is focused on scholarships for CASNR students, support for educational programs of the Middle Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center in Spring Hill and support for Tennessee 4-H.
 
"Waymon Hickman recognizes the value of investing in youth and realizes they are the future of agriculture," said Tim Cross, dean of UT Extension. "The endowment impacts thousands of youth across the state providing opportunities in citizenship and civic engagement, service grants and leadership training experiences."
 
In addition, Hickman’s generosity has funded scholarships for more than 650 students, including graduate students and students pursuing degrees in veterinary medicine according Michael Smith, professor of animal science and chair of the UT CASNR Scholarship Committee.
 
“These students are typically from rural farming backgrounds and would likely have difficulty funding their college studies were it not for the generosity of Mr. Hickman and his organization,” said Smith.
 
Hickman understands first hand the value of scholarships. As a freshman at UT, he received a $300 scholarship that helped him fund his own college studies. Needless to say, that experience helped shape his philosophy on the importance of helping others achieve their dream of a university education.
 
During the economic downturn of the last several years, Hickman’s endowment also took a dip. However, the philanthropist made sure that it would continue to help students, faculty and programs with an additional $100,000 gift, despite prevailing market conditions.
 
Hickman is also known as a tireless advocate for the programs and outreach activities of UTIA. His service includes membership on the UT Development Council and the Agriculture Executive Committee of UT's Campaign for Tennessee from 2008 to 2011.
 
"With his leadership, the Campaign for Tennessee exceeded its $55-million goal for UTIA by over 200 percent," said Arrington.
 
But Hickman’s and commitment to the community extends beyond the University of Tennessee. The longtime Columbia, Tenn., resident served as chairman of First Farmers and Merchants Bank, retiring after a 47-year career. He has also served on the board of directors of the Federal Reserve and is the past president of the Tennessee Banker’s Association. His strong commitment to education also helped support of Columbia State Community College, Tennessee’s first community college.
 
According to Keith Barber, UTIA vice chancellor for advancement, Hickman’s example of philanthropy will continue to be recognized well into the future, “Waymon Hickman’s generosity and leadership have had a wide-ranging effect on agricultural endeavors. From elementary school children, to college students, to research and Extension, he has guaranteed the enduring tradition and land-grant mission of the University of Tennessee,” he said.

The UT Institute of Agriculture provides instruction, research and public service through the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, UT AgResearch, including its system of 10 research and education centers, and UT Extension offices in every county in the state.

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Contact:

Dr. Keith Barber, UTIA Office of Advancement, 865-974-5779