Cristen Garrett Haslam (’85)

Category: Awards | Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna

2017 Distinguished Alumna Award Winner

Cristen “Crissy” Haslam, the former first lady of Tennessee, graduated in 1985 from the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences with a master’s degree in college student personnel.

Since graduation, she has dedicated herself to enhancing the lives of children, teachers, and administrators in her efforts in support of education. As first lady to former Governor Bill Haslam, she created and launched a three-part initiative, which recognizes the importance of families in improving children’s literacy. She also established the READ20 Book Patrol, a partnership with police and sheriffs across Tennessee to encourage reading and provide books to children in low-income communities.

Along with her work in education, she has been a board member of the Salvation Army, Webb School of Knoxville, Young Life, Knoxville’s Promise, and the Junior League of Knoxville, among many others. Haslam has also served as co-chair for the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet and chair of the Tennessee Executive Residence Foundation and Commission. She and her husband have twice partnered with Peyton Manning (’97) to raise funds for the Pat Summitt Foundation, bringing in more than $600,000 during each event.

Haslam has been recognized across Tennessee for her work in improving education. In 2018, she received Lipscomb University’s Innovator in Education award as well as the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Medallion Award, presented by Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett. She and her husband were honored as the Tennessean’s 2018 People of the Year for their public service.