Connor Fox Finds His Big Orange Welcome


Category: Giving | News

Alumni and Donor Impact on Belonging and Student Opportunity at UT

In his short time as a student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, sophomore Connor Fox has already made quite the impact on campus. His Volunteer journey is marked by resilience and involvement, especially within the donor and alumni community.

In addition to his studies in accounting and the Heath Integrated Business and Engineering Program, Fox is completing an internship in UT’s Office of Annual Giving. He serves as both a UT Ambassador and a Haslam College of Business Ambassador, and he’s a member of the Tennessee Capital Market Society and Student Alumni Associates.

Despite his thorough involvement with campus initiatives and his love for the university, Fox didn’t always plan on coming to UT.

Connor Fox

“I was actually planning on going to the University of Alabama,” says Fox. “I already had a roommate and paid for my enrollment deposit. I was super confident to go until—I don’t really know how to explain it—it’s just that I wasn’t ready to go to Alabama.”

He asked his cousin, who was attending UT at the time, for an unofficial tour. She showed him how easy it was to build a community and find a support system. That experience solidified his decision to become a Volunteer.

Coming from a small town where everyone knew one another, Fox found that UT was still an adjustment, but his involvement in student organizations and programs helped him find his community on campus.

In his first year, Fox joined the Ignite program. Hosted in the Clay and Debbie Jones Center for Leadership and Service, Ignite helps first-year students acclimate to university life with opportunities to develop leadership skills, learn how to become involved, and understand what it means to be a Volunteer.

“Ignite was incredible,” says Fox. “And everything that made me fall in love with the university during that tour was incredibly true. It’s very easy to get involved and build that support system.”

There are such amazing, valuable experiences and unique opportunities that wouldn’t happen without donor support or alumni involvement.

Connor Fox

Class of 2026

Now in his second semester as a sophomore, Fox is thriving as a Volunteer. As a data analytics intern, he provides major support to the annual giving team. Among his duties was work during the 2023 Big Orange Give, UT’s annual day of giving, which resulted in more than 11,000 gifts from donors around the world to all areas of campus.

“I helped audit donations and ensured gifts were recorded correctly and any additional donor matches were distributed correctly,” says Fox. “Seeing all the support during Big Orange Give is so rewarding as a student and in my work.

“It’s hard to underscore how much students, faculty, and departments appreciate the generosity from donors of the university,” continues Fox. “There are so many students that wouldn’t be able to attend UT without monetary support. There are such amazing, valuable experiences and unique opportunities that wouldn’t happen without donor support or alumni involvement.”

Fox found his home on Rocky Top thanks to donor- and alumni-supported programs and opportunities like Ignite. It was so impactful that he became a team lead for the program, working to help other students like him build community. His desire to pay it forward is typical of his Volunteer spirit.

“I’m super excited to start honing in on what I’m passionate about,” says Fox. “I want to make more of an impact.”