If you’ve ever had to select a meal plan or ride the T-Link, you should thank Ellen Hunter. Hunter is the business manager for Service Centers and Auxiliary Services, which includes VolDining and Parking and Transit Services. Hunter runs through all the finances for these departments and helps to ensure a smooth and successful school year for all UT students, faculty, and staff.
Hunter loves her job and has been with UT for nine years. She also loves the educational opportunities the university has given her.
“I love interacting with everybody, but I especially love interacting with our students. They’re like a breath of fresh air. They’re our future, and our mission here is to educate the children of Tennessee.”
Hunter was all Vol long before she started working here; she graduated from UT in 1978 with a degree in accounting. Her father started the family tradition of attending UT, graduating in 1951. All six of her siblings attended UT as well.
“When I was a little girl, he would take all of us to the football games,” she said. “When I grew up, he took my kids to the games.”
Throughout her journey from being a student to a staff member, Hunter gives the credit for her success to her former accounting teacher Dick Townsend.
“He had such an enthusiastic and optimistic spirit when we were in the classroom. He taught us that accounting went beyond just numbers on a paper.”
Hunter also found love on Rocky Top. She met her husband when she was working for the State of Tennessee’s Comptroller’s Office in the Division of State Audit. After a week of knowing each other, they realized they both took the same statistics classes.
“He said, ‘I remember seeing you! You always sat in the front and took all those notes.’ I told him it’s because I needed to know what was going on.”
The pair married and have five children together. Hunter has an active family life—she has 11 nieces and nephews, and all are a part of the Volunteer family.
“Every time someone graduates, we all line up and take pictures at the Torchbearer and then we sing the alma mater together,” she said. “We have all these pictures of us at the Torchbearer. It’s amazing.”
When Hunter is not in her office, she can be found at St. John XXIII University Parish.
“It holds such a special place in my heart because of how welcoming the community is,” she said. “One of my best friends had her wedding there, and I used to bring my children there all the time when they were little.”
Hunter is proud to be a Volunteer and wears orange wherever she goes.
“There’s just something about this school that draws you in. I’m proud to have gone here and I’m proud to now be able to help prepare a younger and better generation, because that’s what a Volunteer should do—help wherever they can.”