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Haslam Leadership Scholars

The Haslam Leadership Scholars (HALS) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, was founded in 2008 with a generous gift from Jimmy and Dee Haslam and Jim and Natalie Haslam. The mission of Haslam Leadership Scholars is to attract, cultivate, and retain future leaders of Tennessee, we will develop transformational learning experiences that help each Haslam Leadership Scholar understand and build their academic and leadership potential. 

Haslam Leadership Scholars is an intimate, four-year cohort-based enrichment program that honors the legacy of the Haslam family in developing community-minded and intellectually-gifted young leaders through a series of transformational learning experiences. Scholars benefit from an exclusive academic curriculum focused on leadership and personal development, a cohort study abroad experience, and Tennessee internship experience.

Haslam Leadership Scholars benefit from generous scholarships, including tuition, fees, and room & board for successful completion of program requirements. Benefits also include a paid internship and education abroad experience. Ideally, graduates of the Haslam Leadership Scholars will be well-prepared to change the world, not just change with it.

Our scholars are routinely recognized as Torchbearers (UT’s highest student honor), receive national scholarships and fellowships such as the Udall Scholarship, Fulbright Scholarship, and Critical Language Scholarship, complete international internships and studies abroad, and gain admission to competitive graduate and professional programs. Notably, three program alumni are Rhodes Scholars.

Upon graduation and completion of the program, Haslam Leadership Scholars earn an honors-designated certificate. They are bestowed an honors medallion at a special Honors Ceremony held in May of each year. They also celebrate with a special commencement dinner with the Haslam family and fellow Haslam Scholars.

Meet the Current Haslam Leadership Scholars

Curricular Requirements (2024-25 cohort)

The Haslam Leadership Scholars curriculum includes an honors induction seminar, communication development, a leadership course sequence, experiential learning and individual and group capstone projects that have substantial scholarly, scientific, community, industry, and/or artistic value.

University Honors Induction

  • UNHO 101: Honors First-Year Seminar (1)

Leadership Series

  • HALS 107: Haslam Leadership Scholars Professional Development (0); repeated multiple semesters
  • HALS 207: Foundations of Leadership I (1) 
  • HALS 208: Foundations of Leadership II (1)
  • HALS 307: Inclusive Leadership (1)
  • HALS 308: Conflict Resolution (1) 

Experiential Learning

  • HALS 291: Haslam Leadership Abroad (1)
  • HALS 391: Leadership Internship (1)

Communication Series

  • One Vol Core approved Honors Written Communication course (3)
  • One Vol Core approved Honors Oral Communication course (3)

Capstone Series

  • HALS 397: Haslam Leadership Group Capstone: Tennessee Solutions (1)
  • HALS 497: Honors Capstone (3; variable credit and repeatable) or department approved capstone equivalent

Total credit hours required: 17 hours

Scholars are expected to augment the Haslam Leadership Scholars curriculum with select honors coursework as appropriate for their academic and professional goals. Haslam Scholars are encouraged to participate in one or more of the University of Tennessee’s many specialized college or departmental honors programs.

Haslam Scholars are expected to make timely progress towards honors graduation while maintaining a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5. Students not meeting expectations will be required to complete additional academic coaching and support.


Admission to Haslam Leadership Scholars is available to entering first-year students. Scholars will have demonstrated knowledge and experience in leadership, service-learning, and civic engagement and are prepared to use such knowledge to contribute to the state of Tennessee.

All students who apply to the Haslam Leadership Scholars with the qualifying academic criteria will be considered, and the program will prioritize and specifically state a preference for: 

  • Tennessee residents, we seek a geographically diverse cohort with representation from across Tennessee. 
  • Students who demonstrate knowledge of and prior experience in the program’s core values of leadership, service-learning, and civic engagement 
  • Students with different perspectives, experiences, and racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds
  • Students in the following Colleges, Schools, or majors: 
    • Haslam College of Business 
    • Tickle College of Engineering 
    • Herbert College of Agriculture 
    • Baker School of Public Policy 
    • Retail, Hospitality, Tourism Management 

Additional Information


Each semester, Haslam Leadership Scholars are invited to a distinguished speaker lecture series on topics that impact community engagement and leadership and will enhance scholars’ knowledge and experience at UT and beyond. Speakers range from politicians, business leaders, community leaders and diplomats. Recent speakers have included Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge and US Foreign Service Officer Molly Amador.


After their first year, Haslam Leadership Scholars participate as a cohort in a mini-term education abroad program. Recent locations have included Ireland and Costa Rica. This program is designed to help scholars explore and understand their role as global citizens, while developing a strong multicultural awareness around leadership philosophies. During this experience, scholars will engage corporate and non-profit leaders abroad, while also participating in cultural immersion activities.


After their second year, all scholars will participate in a summer internship, providing them with the opportunity to cultivate their leadership skills in a professional setting. This Tennessee-based internship will enable students to develop relationships with local firms, organizations, and policymakers, as well as with the wider community.


To learn more about the HLS faculty, click here.