Jack Hanna

2014 East Tennessean of the Year

East Tennessee native Jack Hanna has become America’s favorite zookeeper and international animal advocate. His memorable appearances on Good Morning America and The Late Show with David Letterman, as well as his own Emmy winning TV programs, have given Jack and the Columbus Zoo the platform to educate a global audience about the natural world.

As a young boy growing up in Knoxville, Tennessee, Jack Hanna’s first job was working for their family veterinarian Dr. Warren Roberts for several summers, and he credits that experience for initially developing his love and respect for animals.  In his early career he and his wife Suzi owned and operated Pet Kingdom in Knoxville, and from there he had the opportunity to move on to a position as Director of Central Florida Zoo.  In 1978 he took over the helm of the outdated and struggling Columbus Zoo in Columbus, Ohio.  Over the past 35 years Jack’s vision and leadership has helped to build and expand that zoo into a world class tourist attraction with outstanding education programs, animals and natural habitats, an aquarium, and separate water park.

The Board of Directors of the East Tennessee Historical Society was proud to honor Jack Hanna as the 2014 East Tennessean of the Year in recognition of his efforts and commitment to making the world a better place for animals and people everywhere.

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