A $6.5 million gift has moved an engineering and science building on the UT Martin campus a step closer to reality.
If state legislators approve the funding, the Latimer Engineering and Science building will be the first capital outlay-funded project for the campus since 2006 and named for UT Martin’s single-largest gift on record.
William Latimer III, (Knoxville ’60) of Union City, and his family of Northwest Tennessee made the gift to help make the world a better place. He says he believes in the Habitat for Humanity saying that it is better to give a hand up than a handout.
The unprecedented gift caps an unprecedented allowance by the Tennessee Legislature. State building projects at public colleges and universities require a 25 percent match by the institutions to begin construction. In a first for Tennessee government, however, Tennessee Sen. John Stevens (R-Huntingdon) led the effort to lower the UT Martin match to 10 percent. The university was given a one-year opportunity to raise the
$6.5 million matching funds for the 120,000-square-foot building.
“The Latimer building will transform the UT Martin campus, not just physically with the addition of a building, but in ways that we can’t imagine yet,” says UT Martin Chancellor Keith Carver. “We know this building will encourage innovative and cross-disciplinary research that will impact the entire region. This would not have been possible without Bill’s generosity and desire to make life better for others.”
The Latimer building will house the university’s departments of engineering, computer science, chemistry and physics, mathematics and statistics and an entrepreneurial center. The plans include classrooms and teaching laboratories, as well as dedicated student laboratories and project work spaces. The latter will be created in a way to encourage innovative, cross-disciplinary research and design.