Don Bruce (’73)

Category: Alumni Service | Awards

Don Bruce is the owner and CEO of American Home Design, a company he started in 1977 and built into the region’s most successful home improvement company. In 2008, Bruce was inducted into the prestigious Legends of the Home Improvement Industry. He has parlayed his success in home remodeling into other thriving Nashville business ventures including the American Realty Company, Don Bruce & Associates, Elm Hill Development Company, and American Aviation.

A Nashville native, Bruce earned his BS in marketing and lettered as a catcher on the UT baseball team in the early 1970s. After graduating, he worked as a sales representative for US Steel’s Siding and Window Division in Atlanta, thriving in his position and quickly being promoted and transferred back to Nashville. He married the former Joan Wafford, whom he had met in Atlanta, and they settled down together in Nashville.

Bruce has been an active member of Community Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee, and remains dedicated to public service. He plays a prominent role with the Bruce Family Foundation and has served on the boards of many philanthropic and service organizations, including the Jason Foundation for the prevention of suicide, the Sumner County YMCA, the Nashville Juvenile Court Ministry, the Madison Children’s Home & Domestic Violence Shelter, and Mission Discovery, which conducts short-term mission trips around the world. Bruce currently volunteers for Journey to Freedom, a recovery program that works with the drug courts of Sumner County to assist inmates.

Bruce was the executive operations chairman and a board member for the Sara Lee LPGA Golf Classic in Nashville and is a past president of the Associates Council Board for the Home Builders Association of Middle Tennessee. He earned his pilot’s license in 1984 and has since logged more than 5,000 hours in the air, enjoying the freedom to climb into the cockpit of his Cessna CJ3+ and take off anywhere in the country at a moment’s notice, whether for business or pleasure. He has flown seriously ill patients to treatment facilities around the country as part of Lifeline Pilots and Angel Flight, two volunteer organizations helping patients receive the best medical treatment.

Using his plane to fly UT leaders and coaches to university events is one of the many ways he supports UT. In addition to his generous gifts, he has offered his knowledge and experience in business by speaking to entrepreneurial classes at the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and has contributed to the graduate program by bringing potential students and deans together.
Don Bruce
2014 Alumni Service Award Winner