December 6, 2023Gerbers Named UT System Philanthropist of the Year
Jeff (‘82) and Marla Gerber were honored with the University of Tennessee Philanthropist of the Year Award at the President’s Council’s ninth annual showcase and awards dinner on November 17, in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Last fall, the pair established the Gerber Architecture Scholarship, a $5.2 million gift to pay for last-dollar tuition and fees for all 2022 first-year students in the School of Architecture. This donation is the largest in the history of the College of Architecture and Design.
In addition to the scholarship, the Gerbers committed to continued support throughout each of the 82 students’ time in the program.
“I hope the students take away from this gift that they are free to dream big,” said Jeff. “I want them to know other people are fighting for them, and that people care about how they do.”
Growing up in a midwestern town, Jeff’s mother was his family’s champion who instilled an understanding of how to live a good life, and his father was a “silent warrior” who often did things to help others without even mentioning it. In a lot of ways, Jeff felt he was supposed to make this gift and something he’s been building toward his whole career. As CEO of PGAL, he understands the role architects play in the development of civilization and communities.
UT System President Randy Boyd presented the award to the Gerbers, along with three other UT System alumni receiving awards. The Gerber’s sons, Michael and Daniel, Christina Gooch, Dean Jason Young, his wife Darcy, and Director of Advancement Pamela Cannella Treacy and her partner, Jim Jameson, were in attendance to celebrate the Gerber’s recognition.
Initiated in 2007, the Philanthropist of the Year Award goes to a donor who has made a significant gift to the University of Tennessee. It recognizes the profound impact a single gift can make to the university.