Peyton Manning Scholars Lauded for Academic Excellence and Character


Category: Giving

Peyton Manning and Chancellor Donde Plowman with the Peyton Manning Scholars

The four newest Peyton Manning Scholars at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, met at Neyland Stadium with the namesake and benefactor of their scholarship before the Nov. 12 home football game against the University of Missouri. First-year students Alice Grace Beavers, Addie Heehs, Tyler Porter and Jahneulie Weste were honored by Chancellor Donde Plowman for their exceptional record in the areas of academics, civics and leadership. The meeting between Manning and the students is an annual tradition of the scholarship program.

The Peyton Manning Scholarship is a competitive four-year opportunity for some of the brightest first-year UT students. Manning endowed the scholarship in 1998, and its ranks have grown to a total of 53 recipients. These students are all part of the university’s prestigious Haslam Scholars Program as well.

“Peyton Manning Scholars are some of our brightest students, and what I love most about the program is its emphasis on the leadership and service that are synonymous with being a Volunteer—the same qualities that Peyton Manning embodies,” Plowman said. “The way Peyton continues to champion of our university and our students is inspiring. I’m proud of this scholarship program and of these dedicated students who, in their own way, carry on his legacy and love for the University of Tennessee.”

There are 16 Haslam Scholars on campus at any given time — a number that, as Plowman points out, coincides with the number Manning had while playing quarterback for UT. His No. 16 jersey was officially retired in 2005.

“I’m proud of these scholars for all the hard they work do to earn the scholarship, and then all the things they do when they’re here,” Manning said. “They’re part of the Haslam Scholars Program, go overseas to study abroad and, like the chancellor said, they’ve earned this and it gives them some unique opportunities. But all of them take advantage of those opportunities and go for it. It’s just been a proud association with the university for me.”

I really wanted to attend UT and wouldn’t have been able to without this support, so I’m extremely grateful to Mr. Manning for helping me come to this great school.

– Tyler Porter, Peyton Manning Scholar

For Alice Grace Beavers of Athens, Tennessee, attending UT was a long-held dream made a reality after involvement and awards at McMinn County High School that included serving as student government president and an officer in both FFA and Mu Alpha Theta mathematics honors society.

“To be a Peyton Manning Scholar is just so amazing, and I’m so thankful to be bestowed with this privilege,” Beavers said. “It exhibits the Volunteer spirit here at UT, and I’m so blessed to be able to bleed orange and white.”

Finance major Addie Heehs of Memphis, Tennessee, attended Saint Mary’s Episcopal High School, where she was chair of fundraising for its community fund and captain of the varsity swim team. She founded a fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital that raised over $8,500.

“I wouldn’t be at UT without gifts from people like Peyton Manning,” Heehs said. “The fact that he took his time to come meet us when there are so many other things he could be doing shows the selflessness people at this university have. Being part of a community like this is something I’ll never forget or take for granted.”

Tyler Porter, a business analytics major from Alvaton, Kentucky, came to UT after receiving numerous honors and recognitions while participating in both academic and community activities. He served as president of his high school’s student council and a member of Future Business Leaders of America, and he was inducted into the National Honor Society.

“I’m tremendously grateful for the honor to be a Peyton Manning Scholar,” Porter said. “I really wanted to attend UT and wouldn’t have been able to without this support, so I’m extremely grateful to Mr. Manning for helping me come to this great school.”

Jahneulie Weste, a computer science major from Knoxville, is a first-generation college student who serves as the Knoxville Area Urban League youth ambassador on the National Urban League Youth Council. While at Fulton High School, she served on the Student Advisory Council and was president of the school’s National Honor Society chapter.