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UT Alumna Builds Legacy for College of Communication

Jackie Cavnar

Jackie Cavnar (UT Knoxville '94) has established a planned gift to create the Cavnar Visiting Faculty Endowment in the UT Knoxville College of Communication and Information.

Without scholarships or a flush trust fund, Jackie Cavnar (UT Knoxville '94) had to work three jobs to pay her tuition at the University of Tennessee.

This worthwhile sacrifice helped her discover her voice and leadership skills, both of which she uses to spearhead physician recruitment at 54 LifePoint hospitals in 18 states.

"I attribute a large part of who I am to the University of Tennessee," says Jackie, who lives in the Nashville area.

Grateful for the education she received as a public relations major, Jackie and her husband, Steve, continually support the UT Knoxville College of Communication and Information, and recently established a planned gift to create the Cavnar Visiting Faculty Endowment in the college.

"Their decision to invest in the future of the college and its students is incredibly important," says Dean Mike Wirth. "As state funding for public universities declines, gifts from our alumni and friends ensure that we will be able to continue to provide students with the highest quality education possible."

"This gift reflects my desire to continue the tradition of giving back," Jackie says, "so that students from ordinary means will have the same, if not better, education experiences than I did."

"We are committed to helping meet the needs of students," Jackie says. "Future generations of public relations, journalism and advertising students will receive cutting-edge training and knowledge from visiting professionals and scholars with this endowment."

Jackie knows that a great education transforms lives. "The most influential people and the ones I most admired were all tied to my experiences at UT," she says. "The excellent background I received while doing my undergraduate work at UT continues to help me on a daily basis."

Her passion for UT, communications and medicine began while she was growing up in Greeneville, Tenn. Instead of participating in sports, Jackie volunteered at a local hospital. By middle school, she had started a school newspaper. After attending a weeklong summer journalism camp at UT, she knew she wanted to attend UT. Her first job was at BOHAN, an advertising and marketing agency in Nashville led by David Bohan (UT Knoxville '70). She went on to freelance in public relations before starting at LifePoint Hospitals.

She hopes her hard work, determination and giving spirit set an example for others, especially her 14-year-old daughter, Stephanie, who has expressed interest in attending UT.

"Giving to UT helps me make a difference while sharing my gratitude for the world-class education I received."

If you're interested in making a long-term commitment to supporting UT students, please contact the Office of Planned Giving at (865) 974-4826 or

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