$1.2 Million Gift to UT Promise Endowment on Behalf of Chattanooga Law Firm

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

CHATTANOOGA – A member within Summers, Rufolo and Rodgers law firm announced a $1.2 million gift to UT Promise, an innovative, free tuition program through the University of Tennessee System.
The gift will help graduates from 12 high schools in the Chattanooga area attend an undergraduate campus within the UT System. UT Promise is a last-dollar scholarship program that guarantees free tuition and mandatory fees for qualifying Tennessee undergraduate students with a family income of under $60,000 after other financial aid is received.  The twelve schools include Soddy Daisy High School, Red Bank High School, The Howard School, Tyner Academy, Central High School, Lookout Valley High School, East Ridge High School, Sale Creek High School, Ooltewah High School, Brainerd High School, East Hamilton High School and Hixson High School
“Working families have relied on our firm to protect their interests and their lives since 1969, and we hope that this gift continues that work by creating pathways for students to find their future through UT.  This is our way of giving back to the community,” said firm member Jimmy Rodgers, who earned his bachelor’s degree from UT Knoxville in 1991 and his law degree in 1994.
The firm is currently comprised of five attorneys and serves clients in several practice areas such as personal injury, criminal defense, workers’ compensation, labor law and products liability.
In addition to Rodgers, Jerry H. Summers, the firm’s founder, earned his law degree from UT Knoxville in 1966, Jeff Rufolo in 1991 who also earned a bachelor’s degree from UT Chattanooga in 1988 and Marya Schalk in 2005. The fifth attorney, Ben McGowan, is a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law. 
During the Sept. 13 UT Promise statewide tour stop at Central High School, Rodgers joined UT System President Randy Boyd to announce the $1.2 million gift to the endowment. Summers graduated from Central High School in 1959. 
“Across the state, UT Promise is making higher education a possibility, and donations like this are laying the foundation to ensure that future generations will have this benefit,” UT Foundation President Kerry Witcher said.

The UT System announced plans for UT Promise in March 2019. Students must qualify for the Hope Scholarship and meet the academic qualifications for the institution to be eligible for UT Promise. To learn more about UT Promise, please visit https://tennessee.edu/ut-promise/.

The University of Tennessee Foundation’s mission is to raise financial, public and political support for the University of Tennessee. A nonprofit corporation, the Foundation helps meet the needs of the University by augmenting state and institutional funds, and enriching the lives of students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends.

For more information about the UT Foundation, visit www.utfi.org.

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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