Gaylord Entertainment executive Chaffin named 2011 Young Alumnus of the Year

By Kim Chaudoin on 12/8/2011


Nashville business executive Patrick Chaffin, vice president of strategic planning and investor relations for Nashville-based Gaylord Entertainment, was named Lipscomb University’s 2011 Young Alumnus of the Year in November.

Chaffin was the guest at a luncheon in his honor and made comments at the winter 2011 commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 17.

A 1996 graduate of Lipscomb, Chaffin is the primary contact for Gaylord Entertainment and its shareholders across the country about the company’s performance and outlook and is responsible for operations analysis and strategic planning.

Chaffin played a key role in the days following the Nashville flood in May 2010 when major portions of the Gaylord Opryland Hotel were inundated by waters from the Cumberland River as he was the central point of contact for Wall Street analysts and shareholders concerned for their investment.

“The Young Alumnus of the Year Award is one of the highest forms of recognition given by Lipscomb University and The National Alumni Association. Patrick Chaffin exemplifies the Christian business leader we hold up to our students, alumni and community. We are so proud to claim him as one of our alums,” said Bennie Harris, vice president for development and alumni relations at Lipscomb.

Chaffin passed on some life wisdom to the students at the Dec. 17 commencement using an analogy from his home turf – the business world.

“I’m a finance guy. My career is all about measuring returns on investments. So with that filter on how to live life, over the last few years I’ve observed that most of us spend our lives seeking return on investments where there is very little meaningful return. Nothing that really lasts. Don’t make that mistake,” he told the students gathered for graduation. “The real reason I stand before you today as Young Alumnus of the Year is because of the investments that others have made in me, not really because of anything I’ve done. I’m here because others have chosen to define success by the investments they have made in me.”

The Young Alumnus of the Year Award is given annually to an alumnus/a who is under 40 years of age and “exemplifies Lipscomb’s values in the professional and personal lives and epitomizes the potential of a Lipscomb education and thereby brings credit and honor to the university.”

“I am both honored and humbled to be recognized as Lipscomb’s Young Alumnus of the Year for 2011. It is a privilege to be selected from among such an extensive field of talented and dedicated graduates and I am proud to have the opportunity to represent both them and the school that I love,” said Chaffin. “If I have done anything worthy of recognition, the credit belongs to the friends, teachers and family who have continually invested in me over the years – especially during my time at Lipscomb and the years that have followed,” Chaffin said.

“As the saying goes, they helped prepare me for the path, rather than preparing the path for me. Lipscomb is a very special place to me and so many others and I have watched with pride as our community and our region becomes more aware of the unique qualities of our school’s people and values that make it so much more than simply a university.”

Chaffin joined Gaylord Entertainment in January 2005 as head of strategic planning and finance for ResortQuest International, a division of Gaylord Entertainment and the nation’s largest vacation rental property management company.

Prior to that, Chaffin worked for nine years serving in a variety of corporate and manufacturing positions at General Motors. In 2000, Chaffin was awarded a General Motors Fellowship with which to pursue his MBA education. Chaffin received a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Lipscomb and then earned his master’s degree in business administration from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University.

He is on the board of directors of the Middle Tennessee YMCA’s Camp Widjiwagan and was selected in 2010 as one of the Nashville Business Journal’s “Top 40 Under Forty” business leaders in the Nashville Metropolitan area. He is also a member of Leadership Nashville’s Class of 2012.