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Amazon has committed to donating a large sum of money to the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee.

Amazon will donate $750,000 to the Haslam College of Business to establish a Distinguished Professor of Business Analytics in that department. This comes alongside an equal donation from the Haslam family, making the total donation $1.5 million. These donations will help the college increase their staff, professors and areas of teaching.

Professor of business analytics and department head Michael Galbreth spoke about how this donation will help the school.

“It will have an enormous benefit for our students as it will enable the college to recruit a top-tier analytics professor,” Galbreth said. “This will allow the department to continue to grow and to provide an even better business analytics education for our students.”

He said that this donation will help them in the increasingly competitive field of business analytics. He said that universities have begun expanding and prioritizing programs in this field across the country. This donation will help UTK in hiring some of the best professors in the field.

“This contribution will be transformational for our business analytics programs,” Galbreth said. “We have an award-winning master’s program, and our undergraduate program is one of the fast growing majors at UT, so it is critical for us to recruit world-class professors to keep up with our student growth and continue to offer new and innovative topics in our courses.”

Amazon’s donation comes as a result of their expansion within Tennessee. They recently opened a new facility in Nashville. Dean of the Haslam College of Business Stephen Mangum spoke about how this growing presence has carried over into UTK.

“With that (Amazon) expansion comes a need for additional high-capability talent to staff its various business functions, including a need for top analytics talent,” Mangum said. “Since increasing its corporate presence in Nashville, Amazon has developed a closer relationship with the Haslam College of Business and our business analytics department. They have hired recent UT business analytics graduates and have been very impressed with them.”

“Success breeds further success, and we anticipate that Amazon will seek to hire many more business analytics students from our program in the future.”

Mangum said that this donation is similar to other corporate donations given to the college. Other companies that have donated include First Horizon, FedEx, the Pilot Company and Clayton Homes.

He said that these donations won’t influence how or what they teach; it will instead allow the college to increase the amount of faculty that they employ along with expanding different departments of education in the school. This expansion in professors and faculty will help students in their education.

“Adding to our faculty ranks increases the ability of our faculty to meet curricular needs of students,” Galbreth said.

“Specific faculty bring with them knowledge and interest in particular areas of inquiry. Their knowledge and interest manifests itself in the teaching and research of the faculty member. By expanding the size of the faculty, we expand the range of different perspectives and interests to which students are introduced.”

Galbreth said that the college will most likely accept future donations from companies like Amazon. He specified that they accept donations on the basis that they coincide with the college’s priorities and areas of teaching.

They did not have any apprehensions in accepting Amazon’s contribution.

Galbreth wants to assure students that these donations from Amazon and the Haslam family will benefit them along with the university.

“I think the message for students is that one of the premier analytics organizations in the world, Amazon, is excited about business analytics at UT, and they are investing directly in the future of our programs to help us to provide the best analytics education possible for our students,” Galbreth said.

“This demonstrates their commitment to supporting the development of top analytics talent in Tennessee. This is an exciting time to be a business analytics student in the Haslam College.”

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