By Chandra Harris-McCray
Warren Carmichael (UT Martin '72) put his childhood fascination of becoming a fighter pilot on the back burner to follow in the footsteps of his big brother and attend collegesomething his parents never had the chance to do.
Initially majoring in psychology at the University of Tennessee at Martin, Warren quickly changed his major to business administration, the same field his brother Steve was studying. Steve earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in business administration from UTK. "I knew I could make a living if I studied business," Warren says, reflecting on his decision to attend UT Martin.
With just high school diplomas, Warren's parents made sure their hard work was invested in their sons' education. The Dyersburg native says, "I never had to worry about working while in college because my parents made sure I made it through and kept my focus on academics."
A Successful Career
After passing the CPA exam on his first try, Warren began his career in Memphis with what is now Deloitte & Touche. He later served as the chief financial officer of Kleer-Vu Industries in Brownsville, Tenn. He left Kleer-Vu in 1984, and with several financial management positions under his belt, Warren eventually founded Three Rivers Health Plans Inc. in 1995. Initially formed to operate as a health maintenance organization (HMO) dedicated to providing comprehensive medical care to the Medicaid population of Pennsylvania, Three Rivers began with a mere five employees and grew to more than 600 employees by the time Warren retired as the chief executive officer in 2004.
"I owe a substantial amount of credit for my success to UT Martin," Warren says. "Not every person can afford to attend the Dukes and Vanderbilts. UT Martin was and is offering a quality, name-brand education that stands for educational excellence. UT is a place you can be proud to send your sons and daughters."
A Family Affair
Warren's son Patrick graduated from UT Knoxville in 2007, and he took cues from his dad by studying business while majoring in hotel and tourism management. Patrick's wife, Courtney, is also a UT Knoxville graduate. The nursing alumna met Patrick because of Warren's friendship with Courtney's father, Charles Chilcutt (UT Martin '72). UT is more than just where the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity brothers Warren and Charles received their business administration degrees, "it is part of our family, our history," Warren says.
The UT family legacy will hopefully continue with Warren and his wife, Pat's, first granddaughter, Anna Claire. Pat says, "She is just a year old, but already Patrick and Courtney have started a college savings plan for her, much like we did for him and his brother Brantley (a Penn State graduate). We sacrificed and saved."
Helping Others Reach Their Goals
Extending their financial support to students, many of whom they never have met, Warren and Pat currently support and have established bequests to benefit UT Martin's football program, the UTM College of Business and Global Affairs, and Tennessee Athletics. "When financial success comes, part of that success means being charitable," he says. "We want to make sure educational success touches the lives of students at UT Martin and UT Knoxville."
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