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Special Collections Online at UT

Benton Otto Wheeley Collection

Identifier: MS-3799

  • Staff Only

This collection documents the personal and professional life of Benton Otto Wheeley, an engineer, philanthropist, and venture capitalist. Divided into two series, the first, Personal Material, contains correspondence, financial information, speeches, proposals, reading material, and other documents relating to Wheeley's philanthropic and personal life. The second, Professional Material, contains documentation of Wheeley's time at Koppers, Inc. (1942-1984); business proposals, photographs, stock information, and other documentation of his professional general investments; and deeds, financial information, plats, and floor plans of his real estate investments.


  • 1938-2012


The material in this collection is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact Special Collections.


8.5 Linear Feet (8 record boxes, 2 quarter boxes)


This collection documents the personal and professional life of Benton Otto Wheeley, an engineer, philanthropist, and venture capitalist. Included are correspondence, speeches, business proposals, investment information, and more.

Biographical/Historical Note

Benton Otto Wheeley was born on July 25, 1921 in Macon County, Tennessee to John Henry and Georgia Jenkins Wheeley. He attended Western Kentucky University before transferring to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Wheeley graduated in 1943 with a Bachelors Degree in Chemical Engineering. He received an honorary law degree from Alderson-Broaddus College in Phillipi, West Virginia and a scholarship to the Brookings Institute in 1961. Upon graduation from UT, Wheeley accepted a position as a chemical engineer at Koppers, Inc. in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He stayed with Koppers, Inc. until 1984, retiring from his position as Deputy Chairman and Senior Manager.

Wheeley served on the Board of Directors for Radio Systems Corporation, Rankin Christian Center, EET Corporation, Med Images, Be Smart Kids, Hospitality House, Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., and Southern Theological Seminary School in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He also served on the Board of Advisors for the College of Engineering at University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In his retirement, Wheeley moved to Boone, North Carolina. He started Venture Capital, his own investment company in 1984, and NSBW in 1985. However, Wheeley also had a long history investing in companies throughout his career as a chemical engineer. In addition, he purchased real estate in West Virginia, Arizona, Florida, and Tennessee. He relocated to Johnson City, Tenn. during the early 2000s. Benton Otto Wheeley died on May 21, 2012 in Johnson City, Tenn.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA