Economic Development Scholarships

Philip Trauernicht Memorial Scholarship for Rural Leaders

Introducing a New Generation to Economic Development in Tennessee

Informed and innovative leadership in a community is critical to it achieving economic vitality.  We know rural communities in Tennessee face unique challenges and require leaders who understand the building blocks of economic and community development and are able to work collaboratively to leverage the strengths and assets of their community to improve the quality of life for all residents. 

The Philip Trauernicht Memorial Scholarship for Rural Leaders enhances the development of rural leadership through scholarship support to the Tennessee Basic Economic Development Course (TBEDC).



A native Tennessean, Philip spent three decades dedicating his career to economic and community development throughout Tennessee. His service and dedication supported the creation of thousands of jobs and millions of dollars of investment across the state’s 95 counties. He worked closely with communities and industry to get much needed resources to rural and distressed areas of Tennessee. 

He was known for his unwavering fairness, honesty, wry sense of humor and willingness to mentor, especially those new to economic development. Philip was a true servant of the people, and he is greatly missed by all who knew him.

Description and Eligibility

This scholarship provides full tuition to attend the annual Tennessee Basic Economic Development Course (TBEDC) and up to four nights’ lodging during the course. The award value per annual scholarship is approximately $1,500.

Criteria for Award Selection  

Preference will be given to scholarship applicants who meet the following criteria:

  • Applicants who are engaged in the practice of economic and community development in rural counties or regions in Tennessee
  • Applicants with limited resources to support professional development training and who would be unable to attend the TBEDC without scholarship support
  • Applicants who are new to the practice of economic and community development and who have less than five years of work experience in the profession
  • Applicants who demonstrate a passion and commitment to applying the knowledge gained through attending the TBEDC to advance rural development in Tennessee
  • Applicants who are members of the Tennessee Economic Development Council or will commit to TEDC membership after completing TBEDC  (Note: TEDC provides a complimentary one-year membership for TBEDC graduates.)

This scholarship is open to all applicants regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, citizen, disability, age, or veteran status.

Download the Application


Selection Process

The Scholarship Selection Team will review all submissions and an awardee will be determined based on the selection criteria referenced above.

Submission and Timeline

Submit application materials and direct questions to Kim K. Denton, CEcD at (865)974-8464 or

June 1  |  Application period open (rolling)
November 30  |  Applications due by 5 PM EST
January 30  |  Awardee notified
February  |  Scholarships presented at TEDC Day on the Hill


More about TBEDC

The Tennessee Basic Economic Development Course (TBEDC) is designed for community leaders, economic development practitioners and stakeholders who participate in the process of economic development at local, regional, state and federal levels. The TBEDC, which is sponsored by the UT Center for Industrial Services and accredited by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), provides a comprehensive foundation in the principles and practices of economic and community development.


Special thanks to Philip's family, colleagues and the donors who have made the Philip Tauernicht Memorial Scholarship for Rural Leaders possible.


About the Endowment

The scholarship is now endowed so it will exist in perpetuity. The agreement for the endowment is by and between the Tennessee Economic Development Council and the University of Tennessee Foundation, Inc. (Foundation). The Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation in the State of Tennessee. The creation of an endowment by a nonprofit protects charitable dollars as it receives prudent stewardship, while providing a lasting source of income for the scholarship.


Important Dates

February 19, 2019  |  TEDC Day on the Hill  |  Announcement of Philip Trauernicht Memorial Scholarship for Rural Leaders