Donor Spotlight: Martha Leiper – University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Athletics
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Name: Martha Leiper
Spouse: Mike Leiper
Occupation: Executive Vice President & Chief Investment Officer at UNUM
City of Residence: Chattanooga, Tennessee
Alma Mater: The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga – 1988
Mocs Club Member Since: 2020
What made you and Mike decide to join the Mocs Club and support the endeavors of our student-athletes?
As an avid sports fan, I have always appreciated the passion and dedication of student-athletes. Mike and I are the parents of three children who played competitively through high school and understand the rigor and sacrifice these student-athletes endure to play at the collegiate level. We are excited to promote this program which positively impacts these future leaders in our community. We have so much respect for the program, faculty, staff, athletes, and the caliber of graduates. I know they are well prepared for the future.
Tell us how you ended up at UTC to get your degree?
I transferred to UTC my senior year of college. I was engaged to Mike and knew we would be living in Chattanooga. I met with Dr. Fulmer from the business school and was impressed with the program, the faculty, and the professor to student ratio. Within a year of graduation, I enrolled in the MBA program. After that, I came back and took additional accounting classes so I could sit for the CPA exam. For a while, Mike wondered if I would ever stop taking classes! UTC offered so many options for courses and access to excellent professors.
What is your favorite Chattanooga Athletics memory?
I was a transfer into the school and working while finishing my degree, so I didn’t have much time to attend athletic events as an undergrad. I am making up for that now. Mike and I moved back to Chattanooga from San Antonio, Texas in 2019, right before Covid. We are so excited to attend the football games this fall. The atmosphere at Finley Stadium is amazing. We are lucky to have such a great program in Chattanooga. We can attend games, support our local university and enjoy the fall football experience without the cost, hassle, and crowds of Division I FBS schools. I have a lot of pride in Chattanooga and in UTC. I feel that the university is a hidden gem in our city.
What is your favorite part of living in Chattanooga?
Chattanooga is an amazing city. When we were living in Texas and came back to visit, I remember our children commenting on how cool Chattanooga was. I don’t know that you fully understand that until you live away. From the beautiful surroundings, the friendly people, the ease of getting around and the proximity to larger cities. We have the best of both worlds. It is definitely an environment conducive to a healthy work life balance.
What are your interests outside of Chattanooga Athletics?
I love sports and outdoor activities in general. We enjoy hiking, biking, boating, and attending the local festivals.
Tell us about how your degree from UTC helped you build a succesful career?
My education prepared me well for my career. When I transferred to UTC, a degree in finance required 9 additional hours of accounting than my previous program. This gave me a very strong foundation for finance and investments. In the MBA program, the focus was heavily weighted on group projects and problem solving skills that are critical for management.
Favorite place to eat in Chattanooga?
We have so many great restaurants in Chattanooga, it is hard to pick just one. We love to hang out on the Riverwalk and on Main Street. I would count STIR, State of Confusion, and Boccaccia among our favorites.
What would you tell other community leaders in order to get them involved in Chattanooga Athletics?
I encourage other leaders in the community to get out and support our hometown university. A strong athletic program will contribute to a vibrant community and the games are so much fun. Come out and experience it for yourself.
What piece of advice would you give to our student-athletes?
1. Congratulations! You have an opportunity that many dream of but few achieve.
2. Stay focused on your education.
3. The discipline required to earn a degree and compete at the colegiate level will serve you well.
4. Enjoy your college experience and give back to UTC after you graduate to ensure the continued success of the university.
About the Mocs Club:
The Mocs Club is the annual fundraising arm for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Athletic Department. Support from each Mocs Club member benefits over 300 Moc student-athletes. The financial support generated by the Mocs Club works to alleviate the cost of student-athlete scholarships as well as providing a positive impact on our student-athletes in the classroom, on the field of play and beyond.
Mocs Club Mission:
Generate resources to support the academic and athletic success of all UTC student-athletes.
Not a Mocs Club Member and Interested in Joining?
The Mocs Club is striving to reach 1,500 Mocs Club members by 2022. Contact the Mocs Club at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (423) 425-4233. You may also join by clicking the link below.
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