The University of Tennessee at Martin received a donation from Reggie Hill, a 1977 alumnus, to fund the Skyhawk Retention, Inclusion, Student-Success and Equity, or RISE, program on campus. The Skyhawk RISE Program was established to help create a strong foundation for incoming students from underrepresented communities through experiential learning, mentorship and continued support.
The RISE program will begin fall 2021 and provide underrepresented students with connected classes, one-on-one mentoring, peer support, leadership opportunities as well as co-curricular activities to create a network of resources and community at UT Martin. Mentors participating in the Skyhawk RISE Program are trained in implicit bias, diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and other areas of cultural contingencies, according to Dr. Mark McCloud, chief diversity and inclusion officer.
Hill’s donation will help the pilot program as it begins in August and continue to support the students and mentors involved as the program grows.
“We’re living in a diverse world, and I hope the program will prepare students to live, work and succeed in a diverse world,” Hill said. “Learning from people who are different than themselves will help all our students succeed.”
Hill, of Paris, graduated from UT Martin in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration before attending the University of Tennessee College of Law. Prior to his recent retirement in 2020 from Lifepoint Health as the chief compliance and policy officer, Hill served for more than 30 years with Waller, Lansden, Dortch and Davis attorneys in Nashville, where he was a partner and former co-chair, as well as head of the firm’s health-care industry group. He currently serves as the chair of the UT Martin Chancellor’s Roundtable, is a member of the UT Martin Elam Society, and also serves on the UT College of Law’s Deans Council and the UT President’s Council.
“We are honored by Reggie’s generosity and commitment to fostering retention initiatives at the University of Tennessee at Martin,” said Chancellor Keith Carver.
For more information about the donation, contact Jeanna Swafford, associate vice chancellor for development, at 731-881-7629. For more information about the Skyhawk RISE Program, contact McCloud at 731-881-3715.