Natalie Haslam accepting the East Tennessee Community Design Center’s Bruce McCarty Community Impact Award.
Every year, the East Tennessee Community Design Center recognizes a local leader with its Bruce McCarty Community Impact Award, named after its founder. “It is presented with the goal of celebrating and perpetuating both the quality of life in East Tennessee and the qualities of the leadership of Bruce McCarty,” said Rick Blackburn, chairman of the Community Design Center’s board of directors.
This year, that award went to philanthropist and art and history enthusiast Natalie L. Haslam. It was presented during a lovely sold-out dinner at The Foundry on World’s Fair Park.
Natalie Haslam’s commitment to East Tennessee is born from her love of it. A native Knoxvillian, she graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1952. She was the first woman to be president of the Knoxville Symphony Society and has been president of the East Tennessee Foundation and the East Tennessee Historical Society.
She was a founding board member of the Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and has been on the boards of the Tennessee Arts Commission, Child and Family Services, Zoo Knoxville, Maryville College, City Ballet, Wellness Community and Junior League. She also has been president of the Knoxville Garden Club and the Arts & Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville. Whew!
And, on top of all that, she is married to James A. Haslam II, the founder and chairman of Pilot Flying J, and together they have six children, 18 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. That’s a lot of community impact!
A capacity crowd filled The Foundry to see Natalie Haslam honored.
Jenny and Rick Blackburn. He’s chairman of the Design Center’s board of directors.
Jim Haslam, left, with Renda Burkhart and Rodney Lawler.
From left, Sarah Stowers, Natalie Haslam, State Sen. Becky Massey and Susan Arp.
Dan and Mary Wells Holbrook. She’s a board member and was largely in charge of pulling together this event.
Sandy and Hank Bertelkamp.
Pat and Dr. Joe Johnson with UT-Knoxville Chancellor Beverly Davenport. Johnson is president emeritus of the University of Tennessee system.
Joni and Jeff Pappas. He’s head of UT’s School of Music, a major recipient of Natalie Haslam’s benevolence.
Jane and Doug McCarty. He’s an emeritus board member of the Design Center and the son of the late Bruce McCarty, for whom the award was named.
From left, Sarah Stowers, Sis Mitchell, Anne Maynard and Mary Alice Tucker.
Hash and Nazzy Hashemian.
From left, Pastor Daryl Arnold, Laurens Tullock and Knox County Commissioner Brad Anders.
Natalie Haslam, right, with Mary Ann Rinearson and Rick Dover.
Dr. Steven Smith, a Design Center board member, and Glo Klarich.
From left, Marleen Davis, Barbara Arant, and Gay and Bill Lyons.
Mike and Chris Collins.
From left, Maria Cornelius, Georgiana Vines, Pam Rhoades and Shaun Fulco. Georgiana is on the Design Center board. The rest are with Moxley Carmichael.
Catherine Gilreath and Bob Williams.
From left, Katharine Pearson Criss, Marty Begalla, Carolyn Schwenn and Donald Thorne. Criss is 2nd vice president of the Design Center board and worked hard on making this evening great.
Ernie and Pam Gross.
Ellen Bebb and current Knoxville Vice Mayor Finbarr Saunders.
From left, Polly Fisher, Daryl Johnson, Faris Eid, Marwan Eid and Sammi Stone. Faris Eid won the Community Impact Award last year.
Bruce and Monique Anderson.
Linda and Buck Vaughn.
Cathy Chesney, left, and Dell Lawler.
Natalie Haslam with John and LeAnne Dougherty.
The centerpieces were knockouts. (Which is great, since Natalie Haslam is such a flower lover!)
Pianist SeLene Wu wowed everyone with a few pieces after dinner.
I wanted to say a word about the food: it was very good, which is difficult when serving this many folks at one time.
Salads were fresh and cold.
Beef was tender and warm.
Desserts were understated but tasty. The perfect amount for the meal’s end.
And, finally, this sweet pic of Jim Haslam congratulating his wife.
Moxley Carmichael produced a short video about Natalie Haslam’s contributions to our community that was shown at the event. We hope you like it.