Like so many other young people, a scholarship changed Tim Arnold’s life.
When Arnold graduated from Hixson High School he accepted a full scholarship to UTC where he received his undergraduate degree in 1984. Four years later and many long hours of work and study invested, he earned an MBA from the university and set about a career in the insurance industry.
Arnold joined Provident Life & Accident (now Unum) straight out of undergrad. During his 26 years working for the insurance giant, Arnold specialized in underwriting, corporate planning, client services, national accounts sales, and benefits. He served in leadership positions with the company at the headquarters in Chattanooga and at satellite operations in Worcester, Mass. and Portland, Maine.
After nearly three decades with the company and weathering the transition from Provident to Unum, a unique opportunity arose to work for one Unum subsidiary in South Carolina. Colonial Life welcomed Arnold as chief operating officer in 2011, and he soon began an unsurprising ascent to the helm of the Columbia, S.C. operation.
With two degrees from UTC and 30 years of sage experience in the industry, Arnold became CEO of Colonial Life in January 2015.
Neither being a two-time UTC graduate nor the CEO of a major company with over 1,000 employees seem to be lost on Arnold, who touts his parents’ modest backgrounds with his work ethic.
As Arnold recalls, his parents came from a “modest” background, his father having worked in mills and his mother in the local school system. In fact, he was the first in his family to attend and graduate college, a point of pride that he’s happy to share.
During Founder’s week UTC hosted its annual “Legends and Leaders” dinners at which alumni and friends of the university are recognized for outstanding professional and community work. Arnold was the 2018 of the “Distinguished Alumni Award” and for well-deserving of the designation for many reasons.
The hallmarks that set the trajectory for Arnold’s storied career are those that he learned from his hardworking parents that were reinforced at UTC: work ethic, excellence and professionalism. Moreover, he has taken with him throughout his life the inherently Chattanooga value of generosity.
This generosity is typified by his volunteer work with non-profit groups locally and in South Carolina. First Tee of Chattanooga and Girls Inc. have benefited from Arnold’s generosity over the years. But it was Arnold’s gratitude for UTC and those who made it possible for him to attend that led him to make his most lasting gift.
This middle class kid from Hixson decided it was time to give back to his alma mater and he did by establishing a scholarship specifically for Hixson High School students to attend UTC.
“I’m so proud of the way the school and its reputation has grown,” said Arnold. “Each time I’m back on campus, I just love to see the progress.”
Arnold says that he’s particularly excited about Gary W. Rollins’ historic $40 million naming gift to the College of Business. While in town for the “Legends and Leaders” dinner, Arnold was able to tour the newly named Gary W. Rollins College of Business and was blown away by what he saw.
“The business school is phenomenal. I heard about the gift from Mr. Rollins; what a fantastic gift that will be and it will be really, really fun to see how that investment gets into the university and helps us grow even more.”