Tom Looney helps unveil Smokey’s Playhouse, raffled off to benefit Habitat for Humanity.

A Doggone Good Cause

Students in the Construction Science Program built Smokey’s Playhouse, UT Knoxville’s entry in the “Battle of the Habitat Playhouses” competition with Virginia Tech to benefit Habitat for Humanity. The playhouses were raffled ahead of the “Battle at Bristol” UT-Virginia Tech football game at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sept. 10. Program Director Charlie Parker says the project also let students apply skills learned in the classroom. Construction science is the fastest-growing academic program in the UT system, and graduates are in high demand. “We’ve been placing 100 percent of our students,” says Parker. Former Volunteer mascot Tom Looney (Knoxville ’92), who served from ’91 to ’92 and now serves as a director of advancement at UTIA, wore his Davy Crockett costume to help unveil Smokey’s Playhouse before the structure was sent on its fundraising tour.

Kudos for Real-Life Solutions

Bill Brown
Bill Brown
Robert Burns
Robert Burns

UTIA faculty and staff are known for contributing to real-life solutions for students, to research and academics, and to the Institute’s clientele in communities, farming and industry. Some recent notable recognition was conferred on Bill Brown, dean of UT AgResearch, and Robert Burns, associate dean of UT Extension. Brown (Knoxville ’79) was recognized earlier in 2016 with the Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors Excellence in Leadership Award, and in November he receives the 2016 Experiment Station Section National Excellence in Leadership Award at the annual meeting of the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities. Burns (Knoxville ’90, ’92, ’95) was named a Fellow in the American Association of Agricultural and Biological Engineers in July.

UTIA’s annual awards of excellence were presented in August. The B. Ray Thompson Sr. Outstanding Faculty Performance Award was presented to Mike Buschermohle, professor of biosystems engineering and soil science. The E.R. “Prof” Lidvall Outstanding Teaching Award was presented to Paris Lambdin, professor in the department of entomology and plant pathology. The complete list of 2016 faculty and staff honorees is at

Got (Exotic) Pets?

Susan Kelleher. Photo Courtesy of NatGeo Wild
Susan Kelleher. Photo Courtesy of Nat Geo WILD

Tortoise. Chinchilla. Pot-bellied pig. On any given day, Dr. Susan Kelleher (UTCVM ’95) may treat 11 different species at her Broward Avian & Exotic Animal Hospital in Florida. The central figure in “Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER,” which has aired on the Nat Geo WILD cable channel since October 2014, Kelleher says she’s surprised by the public’s fascination with the show. “People recognize me in a store and come up to me,” says Kelleher, adding with a laugh, “It’s just me. I’m a mom, a Cub Scout den mother, a veterinarian.” Kelleher says she’s seen care for avian and exotic animals advance over her 21-year career. “Recently, I put a cardiac pacemaker in a ferret. These animals are members of their families and deserve the same standard of care as dogs and cats.”