Elizabeth Tiller, an honors graduate from American Christian Academy in Tuscaloosa, Ala., has been named 2008 recipient of the Peyton Manning Scholarship. The scholarship has been awarded annually since 1998 to a first-year student participating in UT's Honors Program in honor of Manning, the former Vols signal-caller, co-captain and 1997 All-America selection.
Peyton Manning and UT Director of Financial Aid Jeff Gerkin joined Elizabeth and her parents Charles and Debbie along with her brother Eric during the June 19 ceremony at the Thornton Athletics Student Life Center. The presentation took place directly in front of the "Peyton Manning Study Area," another byproduct of the Manning years at Tennessee.
"Time has a way of slipping by and it's hard to believe this is the 11th outstanding student to receive the Peyton Manning Scholarship," Manning said. "Elizabeth continues what has become a tradition of outstanding academic students to receive this award. She adds to that a really solid athletics background and is just a tremendously well-rounded person. I'm proud to have her as a recipient."
Tiller graduated from American Christian Academy with a 4.26 GPA and was named Ms. ACA, the highest award given in the school. She becomes the third out-of-state recipient and the first from Alabama.
The Alabama native, who was also awarded a UT Haslam scholarship, was captain of the varsity cross country and track teams while at ACA. She was named All-State in track five times and All-State in cross country three times. ACA won one cross country and two track and field state championships during her career.
The incoming freshman was also busy in the classroom while at ACA. She was vice president of her junior and senior class and a member of the National Honor Society. Tiller was a National Merit Commended Scholar and a Fox 6/Buffalo Rock Star Senior.
“I am very excited to be receiving the Peyton Manning Scholarship,” Tiller said. “It is an honor and is affording me the opportunity of a lifetime. It is because of Mr. Manning that I am able to attend the University of Tennessee. I hope that I can follow in his footsteps academically, athletically, and in his philanthropy. He is such a positive role model for youth across the country, and I am grateful to be able to meet him.”
A speech communication major who was No. 1 in his 1997 graduating class, Manning is the career passing leader at Tennessee with 11,201 yards, a 62.5 completion percentage and 89 touchdown passes.
The Manning Scholarship is funded from gifts to the University garnered from Manning's academic awards, the UT Athletic Department's corporate matching grants program and other private gifts.
Manning's four-year career at UT (1994-97) produced a number of awards that generated $165,000 in scholarship funds. Among the awards were the Burger King-Vincent de Paul Draddy National Scholar Athlete of the Year, the Davey O'Brien Foundation Award and the American Honda Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
The Manning Scholarship covers the costs of tuition, room and board. The award is granted to a first-year student on the basis of academic achievement, leadership and community service.
Previous Winners of the Peyton Manning Scholarship
Kara Leann Seat (2007)
Christ Presbyterian Academy
Nora Sue Hutchison (2006)
Anderson County High School
Jessica Nicole Jarrell (2005)
West Greene High School
Michael Austen Clapp (2004)
Ragsdale High School