The award, given to those who provide special assistance to a TBR institution and whose financial support and leadership provide significant impact to the school, was presented to Lynn at the TTU Foundation meeting earlier this week.
Once featured in Venture Magazine as Entrepreneur of the Year, profiled in “Who’s News” by The Wall Street Journal, and highlighted as one of “The Up and Comers” by Forbes, Lynn has been lauded in the corporate world. TTU officials nominated him for the TBR award because, they say, he deserves equal recognition for his accomplishments in the higher education and philanthropic arenas.
“While he has held many roles and received many honors, Steve Lynn has not wavered in his commitment and support for his alma mater,” said TTU President Bob Bell. “He has donated invaluable time and resources to our campus in many ways.”
After earning his degree in industrial engineering from Tennessee Tech University in 1970 and his MBA from the University of Louisville, Lynn began his professional career as an industrial engineer. By age 27, he was the youngest director of a Kentucky Fried Chicken major division. He headed a major marketing firm, spent time at Burston Corporation, and then took over as head of Sonic Industries, Inc. By the mid 1980’s, he bought the company and made it one of the premier fast food industry leaders as president, CEO and chairman. In 1995 he was named chairman and CEO of Shoney’s Inc. Since then he has headed Lynn Acquisitions and is currently associated with L.K. Finance LLC and Cummings Incorporated.
At Tennessee Tech, Lynn has been honored with the 1992 Distinguished Alumni Award and the 1990 Engineer of Distinction recognition. In 2000 he was named to the TTU Sports Hall of Fame for his success as a Golden Eagle tennis standout.
His personal financial contributions to TTU amount to well over one million dollars in cash gifts and a charitable remainder trust. He helped raise over $26 million as a member of the National Steering Committee for TTU’s “Sharing the Vision” Capital Campaign, the first campus-wide fund-raising campaign at the university.
Lynn currently serves on the TTU Foundation Board of Directors, the TTU Engineering Development Foundation, and on the TTU Industrial Advisory Board.