Tom and Betty Neal Honored with Chancellor’s Award

The award presentation at Vol State

Tom and Betty Neal of Gallatin were recently awarded the Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy. The award honors those who have made great and lasting contributions to the state’s colleges and universities. The couple began funding a scholarship at Volunteer State Community College in 2000. They were involved with special fundraising events, such as the Harvest Moon Soiree and Educate a Woman luncheon. Along with being active supporters of Vol State, Mr. and Mrs. Neal have also been strong supporters of Tennessee Technological University. The presentation of the Chancellor’s Award was made at the annual Hal R. Ramer Dinner by the Volunteer State College Foundation.

“This is a bittersweet moment, as Betty passed away earlier this year and is not here to receive this award in person with Tom,” said Andrew Dollar, executive director for corporate relations with the Tennessee Board of Regents, during the dinner. “Mr. and Mrs. Neal embody the spirit of the of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy, and it is my great honor present this distinguished award to them.”

Betty Coley Neal attended Longwood College for Women in Farmville, Virginia where she earned her Bachelor of Science in English, Library Science degree. Tom Neal is a graduate of Tennessee Tech University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering. He also holds a master’s degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The couple was inducted into the Volunteer State Community College Hal R. Ramer Society in 2009 for their cumulative giving of $10,000 or more. They moved up in levels within that society in 2016, as well as this year. In honor of their giving, the College Honors Classroom in the Steinhauer-Rogan-Black Humanities Building bears their name. For information about how to get involved in the Volunteer State College Foundation visit

Pictured: The presentation of the award at Vol State. Left to right: Paul Neal, Pat Highers, Lisa Neal, Tom Neal, Karen Neal, Mary Belle Ginanni; Karen Mitchell, executive director of the College Foundation; and Jerry Faulkner, Vol State president.