Schlicht receives UTFI President’s Award

Jennifer Schlicht, who serves on University of Tennessee Foundation Inc. (UTFI) staff at the University of Tennessee at Martin, was one of six recipients of the 2024 UTFI President’s Award presented at a ceremony May 20 at the Embassy Suites in Franklin during the UT Foundation Fiscal Year 2025 Planning Forum.

Schlicht is the executive assistant to Jeanna Curtis-Swafford, the vice chancellor for university advancement at UT Martin. While the UTFI consists of staffs from all five of the UT System universities, it is a separate entity from those universities, serving as an interdependent nonprofit corporation to raise financial, public and political support for the UT System.

Schlicht has more than 20 years of UT Martin service and joined UTFI in November 2021. She previously worked for the Horace and Sara Dunagan Chair of Excellence in Banking – housed in the UTM College of Business and Global Affairs – for 17 years.

Before joining the UT Foundation, she served as the assistant to the dean of the College of Business and Global Affairs for a year and a half.

Schlicht said she was surprised to find that she had won the UTFI President’s Award.

“I thought I was in attendance for a workshop with the executive leadership team,” she said. “We had a dinner on the first evening, and my name was called, and I was very shocked.

“I’m very humbled and very honored. The UT Foundation is a wonderful organization to work for.”

In the video made for the award ceremony, several of the people that Schlicht works with gave their reasons for supporting her nomination for the award.

“Jennifer has a uniqueness that is what I consider a quiet strength about her,” said Curtis-Swafford. “She very rarely ever speaks loudly, but her work speaks volumes about what she feels about what she does.”

Curtis-Swafford added that Schlicht, a former basketball player at Dresden High School, continues to give back to her community. Schlicht has served on the Weakley County Sports Hall of Fame Board, was president of the Dresden Quarterback Club, and has directed the annual Dresden Iris Festival.

“I think Jennifer is just a born leader,” said Ben Jones, UTM director of development. “She’s hard-working, she is very thorough and she is very determined. Jennifer has that ‘get-it-done’ mentality. Whether it’s coordinating events or budget planning or anything to assist any other team member, you can always count on Jennifer to help get things done.

“When she transitioned over to the UT Foundation and our advancement and development team, it was a great loss to the College of Business and Global Affairs. Those folks over there loved her and respected her – and they still do. Jennifer has brought those same exact qualities to our team to help us grow and become stronger and a better team.”

The University of Tennessee Foundation Inc. President’s Award recognizes outstanding achievements by advancement staff in applying creative concepts to improving performance, advancing fundraising and alumni engagement efforts and promoting a better understanding of the systemwide advancement activities and asset management services of the UT Foundation.

Recipients are nominated by their peers, and a committee of previous-year recipients select up to six employees to receive the honor.

Nominees are selected using the following criteria:

  • Promotes a better understanding of the systemwide major gift fundraising activities and alumni engagement initiatives.
  • Continually strives to improve the overall performance of the Foundation by meeting or exceeding individual, departmental and system goals.
  • Provides innovative and creative approaches for the solution of problems and meeting special needs in assigned areas of responsibility.
  • Demonstrates commitment to personal and professional growth and organizational development.
  • Supports teamwork and continuous improvement efforts of the advancement division through collaborative efforts.
  • Fosters employee and customer loyalty.
  • Serves as a mentor to other employees.
  • Provides vision through leadership efforts.
  • Adheres to core values and possesses integrity.

More information about the University of Tennessee Foundation Inc. can be found at

PHOTO: Pictured at the UTFI President’s Award ceremony May 20 are winners of the UTFI President’s Award, including (L-R) Jennifer Schlicht, UTM executive assistant to the vice chancellor for university advancement; Amanda Cook, UTFI senior gift records specialist; Laura Zimbrick, UTIA director of advancement, institutional advancement; Josh Leavitt, UTFI business intelligence programmer; and Ryan Jones, UTC senior associate athletics director for development. Not pictured is Phyllis Moore, UTK senior director of alumni affairs.

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