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History of the Chair

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Scott L. Probasco, Jr.


Photo by John Shearer

Often calling himself a cheerleader and not a visionary, Scott L. Probasco, Jr. modestly deflected accolades from University and community leaders for his work in the Chattanooga community. He leaves behind a lasting legacy of his impact in Chattanooga.

A native Chattanoogan, Scotty, as he was affectionately greeted by most of Chattanooga, was known for his modesty, generosity, dependability, and unswerving loyalty. He was the Chair Emeritus of the Executive Committee of SunTrust Bank in Chattanooga following in the footsteps of his grandfather, the founder of American National and later SunTrust.

Scotty graduated from Bright School, Baylor School, Dartmouth College, and he also attended the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania. He received honorary degrees from King College and the University of the South at Sewanee.

His service in the Chattanooga community is legendary with involvement with the Baylor School, the Chamber of Commerce, Benwood Foundation, Bethel Bible Village, the Community Foundation, Chattem Inc. Coca-Cola Enterprises, Hunter Museum, and the United Way of Greater Chattanooga just to name a few.

Scotty was dedicated to his wife of 51 years, Betty or “Spark,” and his family of 4 children, 12 grandchildren, and 1 great-grandson. He had great passion for his Lord and was a lifetime member of the First Presbyterian Church, where he was chairman of the Board of Deacons and an Elder and founding supporter of Changed Lives.

He is a former trustee of the University of Tennessee and a long-time officer and life trustee of the University of Chattanooga Foundation. The recipient of many awards, Scotty was most humbled by the Jim and Natalie Haslam Presidential Medal, the University of Tennessee’s highest honor for outstanding contributions to philanthropic efforts through giving, volunteer leadership, and service.

Scotty was responsible for donating valuable property where Probasco South Campus Housing, Tommie Brown Academy, the UTC Community Outreach Partnership Center, and the SimCenter are now located. This land was an inaugural part in expanding campus to house the ever-growing population of students.

An initial bequest from the estate of Mr. Burkett Miller in 1977 established the Probasco Chair Free Enterprise at UTC in honor of Scotty. The chair’s mission is to help citizens understand the principles which form the foundation of the American economic system including lectures by nationally prominent speakers.

Source: University of Chattanooga Foundation, Inc. Resolution

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