Alumnus honored at homecoming for gifts to college

The College of Law has honored alumnus Carl Colloms (’66) with the Accomplished Alumnus Award.

Dean Melanie Wilson surprised Colloms with the award during homecoming activities on Nov. 2. 

“Student scholarships are crucial to the College of Law’s success, and we are deeply grateful to Judge Colloms for his incredibly generous support,” Wilson said. “Scholarships change the lives of our students by reducing the cost of their education and the debt they carry after graduation. Scholarships also allow the law school to attract the best and brightest students.”

After graduating from the UT College of Law in 1966, Colloms was a trial lawyer.

He later served as a Bradley County attorney, and a city judge in Charleston. Starting in 1974, he served as Bradley County judge (now called county mayor). At 32, he was the youngest county judge in Tennessee. He did not run for re-election for the newly created county executive position in 1982 and returned to private practice.

Later in his career, Colloms became involved in real estate development, and in 2011 his success enabled him to create an estate gift of $1 million for the UT College of Law after having given to Lee University, Cleveland State and Tennessee Wesleyan.

In June of 2019, Colloms committed another $1.15 million over seven years to add to his scholarship endowment for UT College of Law students from Southeast Tennessee which will grow the Judge Carl E. Colloms Scholarship Endowment to one of the largest in college history.

Collom said he hopes recipients will go on to positions of influence and someday realize “that they were helped by that man from that small town in Tennessee.”

“Wouldn’t it be nice if 100 years from now someone said, ‘I couldn’t have gone to UT Law School if it weren’t for this scholarship,’ and wouldn’t it be something if that person turned out to be on a court and cast a deciding vote on an important issue that set the law for the entire nation? That’s why I contributed,” he said.