Lauren Akins (2012)

Category: Alumni Promise | Awards

2019 Alumni Promise Award Winner

Lauren Akins is a graduate who embodies the Volunteer spirit, making it her life mission to serve others through philanthropy, nursing, and activism.

Since graduating from the College of Nursing in 2012, she has made countless trips to Haiti, Kenya, and Uganda. She serves on the Board of Directors for Love One International, a nonprofit organization that ensures critically ill children in Uganda receive lifesaving medical treatment and rehabilitative services. Once these children receive treatment, they are then resettled with their families where Love One focuses on strengthening the communities they live in through various outreach programs. Akins has grown the charity immensely through social media efforts and the launch of the Love+1 jewelry line, which gives its net proceeds to benefit the organization’s charitable missions.

Numerous charitable causes have benefited from Akins’s work. She has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for nonprofits supporting transitional housing, health clinics, and education. In Tennessee, she supports St. Jude Children’s Hospital and Home Street Home that benefits the Nashville homeless population. In addition, Akins and her husband, country singer Thomas Rhett Akins, are advocates of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya. The Trust is most known for the rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned elephants, but it exists to protect Africa’s wildlife and to preserve habitats for the future of all wild species.

In 2018, Akins was selected as the keynote speaker for the College of Nursing’s commencement ceremony, telling graduates to “Dream big and dream often.” She is a member of UT’s Young Alumni Council and she and her husband are active supporters of the College of Nursing, contributing to fundraising auctions through donations of concert tickets, backstage passes, and more.

Together, they have two children, Willa Gray, who the couple adopted in May 2017 after Akins met her during a service trip to Uganda, and Ada James, born in August 2017.