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James C. “Jim” Free Receives Distinguished Alumni Award

The US Senator John G. Tower Distinguished Alumni Award is among the Highest Alumni Honors

The Kappa Sigma Fraternity has announced that Brother James Carlton “Jim” Free has been awarded the US Senator John G. Tower Distinguished Alumni Award, considered one of the highest honors alumni can receive within the national fraternity. 

Established in 1995, this award honors “Kappa Sigma Brothers who have shown a commitment to their business, family, church, philanthropy and community activities.” It is named for the late Brother John G. Tower, U. S. Senator from Texas, who served on the Kappa Sigma Supreme Executive Committee for six years and was Worthy Grand Master from 1971-73.

Brother Free is a 1969 initiate and Founding Father of the Kappa-Iota Chapter of Kappa Sigma at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). A natural with people, Free’s drive and rapport with MTSU administration was a catalyst for Kappa Sigma becoming the first college fraternity on campus.

Free served as staff to Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives and, in 1977, began serving in the Carter White House as Special Assistant to the President for Congressional Affairs. As an advocate for the President’s programs before Congress, he worked on transportation, trade, and environmental issues – including passage of the Clean Air Act, the Alaska Lands Act, and national energy legislation.

For the following four decades, Free has represented major global companies in such areas as energy, entertainment, communications, healthcare, financial services, and transportation. In 1995 Free Co-Founded the Smith-Free group. 

Free is a significant supporter of The Carter Center’s programs focused on peace and health. In 1999, he served as a member of The Carter Center’s Election Observation Team, traveling with President Carter to monitor free elections in Mozambique. The Carter Center has recognized Free and his wife, Ann, by naming a room at the Center in their honor.

Free has been recognized with service on several boards and committees of business, professional, and charitable institutions, including the Country Music Association, the Washington Center for Interns, the New York Stock Exchange, the Woodrow Wilson House, and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. 

A lifelong country music fan and collector, Free recently donated his vast collection of unique music industry artifacts collected over the years to his alma mater at MTSU.

Past recipients of this honor can be viewed online at https://www.kappasigma.org/john-g-tower-award/