It doesn’t take much prodding to get Mike Costello to brag about the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Costello is a two-time alumnus, receiving a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1975 and a master’s of accountancy in 1996. He has taught various classes for the Gary W. Rollins College of Business and served on the College’s Accounting Advisory Board.
Mike Costello, ’75 ’96
2021 Outstanding Service Award
He has been able to see first-hand the value of philanthropy and service as a longtime member of the UC Foundation, where his passion for his alma mater shines through giving back—both through his own scholarship support and actively recruiting other donors.
“When I have been in a position through business or personal contacts, what I do is promote the University and the needs of the University,” he said.
“The main thing that I attempt to do is to remind people that giving to the UC Foundation stays in Chattanooga and benefits the students of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.”
Costello, the UC Foundation immediate past chair, will receive the 2021 Outstanding Service Award at the UTC Office of Development and Alumni Affairs’ Legends and Leaders Award dinner April 7 in the University Center Tennessee Room.
According to its criteria, the Outstanding Service Award “recognizes Mocs who demonstrate exemplary personal service and commitment to both UTC and the community. The award recipients rise above the ordinary standard of service. Their actions better our present and shape our future.”
“It’s just a great blessing to be remembered and recognized for the service I’ve given to the University,” Costello said, “because there’s no doubt about it—I love UTC.
“When (Chancellor) Steve Angle called me to tell me about it, I just said to him, ‘It is so honoring to me and my family to be recognized for the work put in.’ It’s given me a great purpose to be able to give back to the University in the leadership roles that I’ve had.”
Costello, a shareholder and practice leader for litigation support and fraud and forensic accounting at the business solutions firm Elliott Davis, has never forgotten the hardships he had to endure to get through college.
With limited family resources, he struggled to work his way through school and pay for his education.
“I have always wanted to give back and help others so they wouldn’t have to work while they were in school,” he said. “I have had opportunities to give on my own out of my own resources, and I’ve also encouraged others to give. That’s been very fulfilling.
“I will continue to do that going forward because I believe in UTC and its mission and what it’s all about.”