William B. Stokely III (1963)

Category: Awards | Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna

2010 Distinguished Alumni Award Winner

The Stokely name is familiar to those who have visited campus. Stokely Hall, Stokely Management Center, and Stokely Media Center are three of the buildings that bear the name of a four-generation UT family.

William B. Stokely III followed in his father and grandfather’s steps when he attended UT, where he played football and graduated in 1963 with a bachelor’s degree in business. After graduation, he entered the family business, eventually serving as president, then chairman and CEO of Stokely-Van Camp Inc., a company responsible for major brands including Van Camp’s beans and Gatorade. Though he was living and working in Indianapolis, Stokely retained his UT roots, even starting a local UT Alumni chapter.

Stokely later arranged financing for a leveraged buyout to take Stokely-Van Camp private when overbid by another company. He then ran an auction that resulted in the successful sale of Stokely-Van Camp to Quaker Oats. He returned to Tennessee to create his own venture, the Stokely Company, a private investment company that operates multiple hotels, office properties, and personal investments in East Tennessee and elsewhere.

He served as chair emeritus of UT’s Campaign for Tennessee and chaired the Haslam College of Business’s first capital campaign. He also served as national chair of UT’s 21st Century Campaign, corporate co-chair of the Tennessee Tomorrow Campaign, and twice as chair of the University’s Development Council. Stokely has been a member of the UT Board of Trustees and is a lifetime member of the Haslam College of Business Advisory Council.

In addition to the aforementioned buildings, the Stokely name can be found in faculty titles, including the Stokely Professor of Management and the William B. Stokely Jr. Foundation Dean’s Chair in the Haslam College of Business.