Brenda Lawson of Cleveland will be this year's recipient of the Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame's most prestigious honor, the Fred Gregg Jr. Award, at the organization's Feb. 25 banquet at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
Previously announced honorees include golfers Brooke Pancake and Steven Fox as the athletes of the year, Peggy Michaels as the Betty Probasco Award recipient for lifetime achievement and Rachel Price as the Jim Morgan/Allan Morris Award winner for courage and perseverance.
The Hall of Fame inductees will be announced next week. Tickets for the banquet cost $35 and are available by calling Dr. John Farr, the organization's president, at 875-9282. None will be sold after Feb. 15.
"Mrs. Lawson certainly has distinguished herself in the sports arena with her contributions to the University of Tennessee, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and Cleveland High School," Farr said in the hall's release.
In 2011, UTC named a new athletics complex the Brenda Lawson Student/Athletic Center. It houses the athletic fitness center, a basketball practice court used by the men's and women's teams and a large meeting room for the school's sports teams. UTC's McKenzie Arena was named for her and her former husband.
In 2007, the University of Tennessee named the Lady Vols' practice court in the Pratt Pavilion the Brenda Lawson Court. The softball complex at Cleveland High School likewise is named in her honor. She also is a longtime supporter of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.
The CEO of Brenda Lawson & Associates continues to contribute to the three schools. She serves on the UT Development Council, is on the executive committee for the UT Alliance for Women Philanthropists and co-chairs the capital campaign for the university. At UTC, she is on the Foundation Board and serves on the advisory board for the UTC School of Business. She is involved with women's success programs on both the Knoxville and Chattanooga campuses.
Lawson also is president of Cleveland 100 and immediate past president of the Bradley/Cleveland Chamber of Commerce and serves on the boards of the Bradley County United Way and Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland.
UT named her philanthropist of the year in 2012, and the Association of Professional Fund-Raisers made her its philanthropist of the year in 2006. She earned the M.C. Headrick Free Enterprise honor in 2010. She also is a past recipient of the Southern Conference Distinguished Service Award, the Cleveland Junior Achievement Free Enterprise Award and the Cleveland Sertoma Club Service to Mankind Award.
The UTC School of Business inducted her into its Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame in 2004, and she was the school's entrepreneur of the year in 2006.