Gary Wade, chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court, has established a scholarship to support students at the College of Law at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, who are interested in a career in public service.
The Justice Gary R. Wade Endowed Scholarship is open to students currently enrolled at or admitted to the College of Law who are Tennessee residents with financial need and express a strong interest in public service. The scholarship is open to all applicants regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, citizenship, disability, age or veteran status.
“I’ve been honored to hold a public office since I was 28 years old,” said Wade. “Civic education is so important to all citizens of our country. I wanted to create a scholarship to help those who want to earn and use a law degree to help their local government and community.”
Wade received his undergraduate degree from UT in 1970 and graduated from the College of Law in 1973. He has spent 26 years serving Tennessee as a member of the judiciary.
“In my family, all the blood runs orange,” Wade said. “I have a long relationship with the university, the College of Law and each of the college’s deans over the years. Whatever success I’ve had in my career, I attribute to UT.”
Doug Blaze, dean of the College of Law, said Wade’s gift is important to the college.
“We’re honored to hold him among our alumni and are proud of his remarkable career in public service,” he said. “We appreciate the support of our state judiciary and the exceptional work they do for the state of Tennessee.”
Public service has always been a priority for Wade. In 1975, he was elected to the Board of Aldermen in his hometown of Sevierville, Tennessee, where he still resides. Two years later, he became mayor of Sevierville and served for five terms.
Wade served for 19 years as a judge on the state Court of Criminal Appeals. He was appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court by Gov. Phil Bredesen in 2006 and was sworn in as chief justice in 2012.
A longtime supporter of his community and region, Wade has served on the boards of directors for the Sevier County High School Foundation, the Museum of Appalachia, the Knoxville Zoo, the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, the East Tennessee Historical Society, the Knoxville YMCA and the United Way of both Sevier and Knox counties. He co-founded the Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in an effort to encourage conservation efforts. He also co-founded and currently serves on the board of directors for Leadership Sevier, a program designed to bring current and emerging leaders together and provide opportunities for personal and professional growth.
Wade and his wife of 42 years, Sandy, have three children and four grandchildren.