Alumni News

Alan Wilson (’80) honored as one of Tennessee’s “100 Distinguished Alumni”

Alan Wilson, TN Alpha ’80, served as chapter President when he was in the chapter. Alan is also a 2015 recipient of the “Sigma Phi Epsilon Citation” and is in the “TN Alpha Hall of Fame.”

Now he is honored as one of the University of Tennessee’s “100 Distinguished Alumni.” He is the first, but probably not the last, to be mentioned in the list, which is being published in installments in “The Tennessee Alumnus.” 

UT has always been the critical ingredient in Alan Wilson’s recipe for success.

“I bleed orange and have since the day I stepped on campus,” he once said in a commencement video. “UT gave me the confidence…I learned technical skills, but the important thing is I learned how to learn.”

From 2007 to 2016, Wilson served as chairman, president and CEO of Baltimore-based McCormick & Company, the world’s largest spice producer. He retired Feb. 1 but remains a senior advisor and board director.

Wilson attended UT on an ROTC scholarship and earned a bachelor’s degree in communications in 1980 and then served in the U.S. Army. Afterward, he worked for nine years at Procter & Gamble.

Wilson joined McCormick in 1993 and served in several managerial roles before taking the top post in 2007.

“We have 26 plants around the world, and I want to get to each of them at least every other year,” he once told Alumnus. “It’s about being with employees—and I always visit local retailers.”

During Wilson’s tenure, McCormick grew in size and profitability. He oversaw the $604 million acquisition of Lawry’s, a seasoning and marinade company, as well as Canadian brand Billy Bee Honey Products.

Wilson has supported UT throughout his career. He and his wife, Wendy Wilson, have given major gifts to the Center for Career Development, the College of Communication and Information, the Haslam College of Business and the Debby Schriver Endowment for Student Orientation.