Tennessee Alumnus

Big On Tradition

Student ambassador Sarah Strong stands in front of The Rock, which bears daily spray-painted messages.

(Above) Student ambassador Sarah Strong stands in front of The Rock, which bears daily spray-painted messages.

Day 6: UT Knoxville

Established in 1794 as Blount College

Colleges: Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources; Architecture and Design; Arts and Sciences; Business Administration; Communication and Information; Education, Health and Human Sciences; Engineering; Law; Nursing; Social Work; Veterinary Medicine

Students: 27,171
Employees: 7,478
Alumni living in Tennessee: 128,474
Website: www.utk.edu

Tradition, reputation—and we’ll just go ahead and say it—football are some reasons students choose UT Knoxville. “My whole family went to UT, so there was no question for me where I wanted to go,” says Rachel Frey (Knoxville ’06), who grew up in in the same city. “Then, as a student, I learned about all the wonderful traditions and history and fell even more in love with the university.” Two of the most noticeable traditions on campus are the Torchbearer statue and its eternal flame and the Rock, where students paint messages of any sort for all to see. And there’s the issue of size. UT Knoxville is big, but it was the variety of degrees, activities and chance to make friends from different cities and majors that Alan Moore (Knoxville ’10, ’06) liked. “There is something for you,” he says.

Sorority Village is home to 13 residential houses.

Video: Sarah Strong speaks about the Rock, one of UT’s many traditions.

Turns out, there are lots of choices. If you’re a woman in a sorority, you now have a place to live in the new Sorority Village across from the Visitors Center on Neyland Drive. About 550 women live in 13 residential houses. For musicians, there’s technology-enhanced classrooms in the new state-of-the-art Natalie L. Haslam Music Center, which opened in fall 2013. Associate professor Shelley Binder demonstrated the use of an iPad on a music stand, in which she could tap a pedal to turn the page while playing the flute or write on the screen to add symbols or mark out sections and email the changes to her students.


(L-R) Professor Shelley Binder listens to student Jacqueline Messinetti play the flute. The Natalie L. Haslam Music Center replaced a smaller music facility. General manager Brandon Leslie rides the new T bus. The Torchbearer statue is a traditional symbol on campus.

And, if you’re an engineer, the new John D. Tickle Engineering Building, which also opened last fall, has more bells and whistles to accommodate bigger research projects. There’s a 56-foot-long concrete bridge beam sitting in the high bay structure lab for testing. Two 10-ton overhead cranes lifted the beam from the delivery truck into the lab space. “This sets UT apart in structural engineering,” says John Cabage, who earned his doctorate this spring. “This kind of testing could not have been done in the former building.”


Photos by Adam Brimer