University of Tennessee

University of Tennessee

Tennessee, University of, main campus at Knoxville; land-grant and state supported; coeducational; chartered 1794, opened 1795 as Blount College; became East Tennessee College 1807; closed 1807-20; became East Tennessee Univ. 1840, Univ. of Tennessee 1879. The schools of medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and related health sciences are at Memphis, and there are also campuses at Martin and Chattanooga. There is an extensive library system and a noteworthy museum of natural history. The university maintains agricultural experiment stations throughout the state.

The University of Tennessee (also known as UT), sometimes called the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT Knoxville, or UTK) is the flagship institution of the statewide land-grant University of Tennessee public university system in the American state of Tennessee. The system is headquartered in Knoxville and includes campuses in Memphis, Martin, Tullahoma, and Chattanooga.

Additionally, UT-Battelle, a partnership between the university and the Battelle Memorial Institute, manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory.


The university traces its roots to September 10, 1794, when Blount College was chartered by the legislature of the Southwest Territory, when Knoxville was the territorial capitol. In 1826, what was by then named East Tennessee College moved from Gay Street in downtown Knoxville to a 40 acre (160,000 m²) tract named Barbara Hill (in honor of Governor Blount's daughter). Known to students and alumni today as simply "The Hill," it is only a small part of the Knoxville campus but remains at the heart of UT academic life.

The University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility, nicknamed the "Body Farm", is located near the University of Tennessee Medical Center on Alcoa Highway (US 129). Founded by Dr. William M. Bass in 1972, the Body Farm features numerous cadavers posed in various situations on a fenced plot of land. Scientists at the university study how the human body decays in differing circumstances to gain a better understanding of decomposition.

Geography of the University of Tennessee campus changed in 1998, when the university changed the name of Yale Avenue to Peyton Manning Pass in honor of the former Volunteer (and now Indianapolis Colts) quarterback. Peyton Manning Pass and Phillip Fulmer Drive meet at the football stadium in what is commonly called a "T" intersection.


All in all, the University of Tennessee's flagship campus in Knoxville hosts seven colleges, the Institute of Agriculture, the Institute for Public Service, and several schools. The UT Health Science Center at Memphis and the UT Space Institute at Tullahoma are specialized campuses but are not separate institutions. The University of Tennessee comprises these five facilities. UTK, UTC and UT Martin form the University of Tennessee system.

The number of programs of study at UT is, as of 2007, 300 for undergraduate students.


Officially, the University of Tennessee's total enrollment in the fall semester of 2005 was 28,552, of which 23,131 were full-time students and 5,421 were part-time. Undergraduates numbered 20,286 students, while graduate students made up the balance of 8,266. UT enrolled 4,183 first-time freshmen.

Regarding enrollment by race, of UT's total enrollment, 23,092 students described themselves as white, with 2,137 Black, 725 Asian, 348 Hispanic, 112 American Indian, and 273 other/not reported. Total minority enrollment was 17.9%. Slightly more women (54.1%) attended UT than men.

By 2004, 1,082 international students had been enrolled for that year. Most of these students came from China, India, and South Korea. Out-of-state U.S. residents accounted for 4,950 of the student body, most of them from Virginia, Georgia, and North Carolina. The remaining 21,732 students already resided in Tennessee, with most previous in-state residents coming from Knox, Shelby, and Davidson counties.


At the legislature of the Southwest Territory meeting in the territorial capital, Knoxville, the University of Tennessee was chartered on September 10, 1794 as Blount College. The college struggled for 13 years with a small student body and faculty. In 1807, the school was renamed East Tennessee College; however, when its first president and only faculty member died in 1809, the school was temporarily closed. It reopened in 1820, and in 1840 was elevated to East Tennessee University.

In the midst of the Civil War the college was virtually destroyed, as students and faculty left to join both the Union and Confederate forces, their divided loyalties reflecting those of East Tennessee itself. The college buildings were occupied by troops from both sides and were sometimes used as hospitals. Shelling significantly damaged the grounds. The president, who took the college's reins in 1865, was a Union sympathizer, and he managed to secure some $18,500 in restitution funds from the federal government.

Then, following the Civil War, the State of Tennessee made the University the beneficiary of the Morrill Act of 1862, which allocated federal land or its monetary value to the various states for the teaching of "agricultural and mechanical" subjects and to provide military training to students. Thus, the University of Tennessee (its designation after 1879) became a land-grant institution. In 1893, the university admitted women regularly for the first time.

The first African Americans were admitted to the graduate and law schools by order of a federal district court in 1952. The first master's degree was awarded to a black student in 1954, and the first doctoral degree (Ed.D.) in 1959. Black undergraduates were not admitted until 1961; the first black faculty member was appointed in 1964. Integration went fairly smoothly; Black students had more difficulty gaining entry to eating establishments and places of entertainment off campus than they did attending class on campus. Overall, Knoxville and the University had fewer racial troubles in the 1950s and 1960s than did other southern universities.

In 1968, the university underwent an administrative reorganization which left the Knoxville campus as the flagship and headquarters of its new "university system," comprising the UT Health Science Center at Memphis, a four-year college at Martin, the formerly private University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (added a year later), the UT Space Institute at Tullahoma, and the Knoxville-based College of Veterinary Medicine, Agriculture Institute, and Public Service Institute. An additional primary campus in Nashville had a brief existence from 1971 to 1979 before it was ordered closed and merged with Tennessee State University.

R&D and facilities

The major hub of research at the University of Tennessee is Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), one of the largest government laboratories in the United States. ORNL is a world class supercomputing powerhouse, featuring one of the world's most powerful civilian supercomputers. The University is also connected to the Open Science Grid which for example allows physicists to process data from the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva. Also at ORNL is the world's most powerful neutron source, which images everything from complex proteins to nanoparticles. Other academic centers of research and scholarship associated or affiliated with the university are:

National rankings

The University of Tennessee is ranked among the top 40 public universities of America. Specialty rankings are:

  • 9 UT Health Science Center Department of Ophthalmology by Ophthalmology Times.
  • 2 The supply chain management/logistics programs as published in Supply Chain Management Review.
  • 10 The supply chain management/logistics programs in the UT College of Business Administration, according to U.S. News & World Report.
  • 45 UT Master of Fine Arts program by U.S. News & World Report.
  • 3 UT graduate program in printmaking by U.S. News & World Report.
  • 7 The pharmacy program, according to U.S. News & World Report.
  • 6 UT's senior executive MBA program in alumni goal achievement and satisfaction, according to the Financial Times.
  • 89 In the world, UT MBA program, according to the Financial Times Global Business School Rankings.
  • 1 UT MBA program in alumni value (value for the money) three years after graduation, according to Financial Times Global Business School Rankings.
  • 5 UT MBA program overall among U.S. public universities according to Wall Street Journal 2005.
  • 10 UT College of Law, in the National Jurist Best School for the Money ratings, and the clinical training specialty is ranked 19th while the college's overall graduate program is ranked 53rd in the U.S.
  • 10 UT's Nuclear Engineering graduate program, according to U.S. News and World Report.
  • 1 UT's Physician Executive MBA program of the College of Business Administration according to Modern Physician.
  • 2 UT's College of Architecture and Design out of Southern Universities according to Design Intelligence.
  • 35 UT's College of Education, Health and Human Science.
  • The John C. Hodges Library ranks among the top 30 public research libraries of the United States.
  • The Joel A. Katz Law Library in the UT College of Law is ninth best in the nation according to National Jurist magazine.

The University of Tennessee is the only university in the nation to have three presidential papers editing projects. The university has collections of the papers of all three U.S. presidents from Tennessee—Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson.


  • University of Tennessee:
    • Research Budget (2004):
      • Main campus: $109,525,996
      • Institute of Agriculture: $26,987,367
      • Experiment Station: $9,262,186
      • Extension: $14,000,673
      • Veterinary Medicine: $3,724,508
      • Institute for Public Service: $5,882,079
      • Space Institute: $2,552,297
      • Total: $307.9 million (2006)
    • Total Budget: $1.4 Billion (2006)
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory (operated jointly by The University of Tennessee and Battelle Memorial Institute):
    • Research budget: $1.06 Billion (2006)
    • Total Budget: $2.5 Billion (2004)



Tennessee competes in the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division, along with Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt, and has longstanding football rivalries with all of them. However, the Vols' most intense and bitter rivalry is with Alabama. The teams battle every year in the Third Saturday in October. The Volunteers won the 1998 NCAA Division I-A National Championship in football. Also, the Volunteers won the 1938, 1940, 1950, 1951, and 1968 National Championship three under General Neyland, and six total. The Volunteers are coached by Phillip Fulmer and play at Neyland Stadium, which averages over 107,000 fans per game. Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning is among the numerous NFL athletes to start their careers at the University of Tennessee.



The men's basketball program is headed by Bruce Pearl. Through his guidance, the men's program has been revitalized and claimed the 2005–2006 SEC East Title and closed the season with a 22-8 record and a NCAA Tournament berth. In 2007, the Vols made the NCAA tourney for the second straight year, making it to the Sweet Sixteen. In 2008 the Vols claimed their first outright SEC regular season championship in 41 years. One of the highlights of the 2008 season came when number 2 UT knocked off number 1 Memphis, who was then undefeated, to claim the number one ranking in the nation. In men's basketball, the most important rivalries are with Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Florida and cross-state rival Memphis.


Tennessee has the strongest women's basketball team at the college level, having won eight NCAA Division I titles (1987, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2007, 2008), the most in women's college basketball history. The Lady Volunteers are led by Pat Summitt, who is the all-time winningest basketball coach in NCAA history, having won over 900 games as of 2006. Coach Summitt also boasts a 100 percent graduation rate for all players who finish their career at UT. Former Tennessee Lady Vols basketball star Candace Parker went No. 1 in the WNBA draft and is being called the possibly best woman to ever play basketball. Tennessee and Summitt also have a rivalry with the University of Connecticut in women's basketball. These two schools have consistently fought great games against each other in recent years, occasionally with the national championship on the line. The regular season rivalry games ended in 2007 when Tennessee decided to not sign a contract continuing them. The main women's basketball rivals for Tennessee within the conference are Georgia, Vanderbilt, and LSU. Tennessee is the only school to make the Sweet Sixteen in all 26 of the women's NCAA tournaments.


The University of Tennessee baseball team has reached the NCAA College World Series four times (1951, 1995, 2001 and 2005). They have produced players such as Todd Helton, Joe Randa, Chris Burke, and the number one overall pick in the 2006 MLB Draft, Luke Hochevar.


In recent years the women's softball team has gained notoriety, reaching the Women's College World Series three consecutive times. They placed third in 2005 and 2006 and second in 2007. Former pitcher Monica Abbott is the all-time career NCAA leader in strikeouts (2,440), shutouts (112), wins (189) and innings pitched (1448.0). The Salinas, California, native won the U.S. Softball National Player of the Year award and the Honda Award for Softball in 2007. She was also honored by the Women's Sports Foundation as its Team Sport Player of the Year over such high-profile candidates as Kristine Lilly of the U.S. women's soccer team and Lauren Jackson of the WNBA.

Recent National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Americans from the University of Tennessee include Abbott (2004–07), India Chiles (2007), Lindsay Schutzler (2005–07), Tonya Callahan (2006–07), Kristi Durant (2005–06) and Sarah Fekete (2005–06).


UT's best-known athletic facility by far is Neyland Stadium, home to the football team, which seats over 107,000 people and is one of the country's largest facilities of its type. Neyland is currently undergoing a renovation costing over $200 million. The Volunteers and Lady Vols basketball teams play in Thompson-Boling Arena, the largest arena (by capacity) ever built specifically for basketball in the United States. The former home of both basketball teams, Stokely Athletic Center, still stands and is now used by the Lady Vols volleyball program. Both basketball teams currently train at the Pratt Pavilion, a $20 million dollar facility that recently opened in 2008. Pratt Pavilion houses two full size gymnasia, one each for the men's and women's varsity basketball teams, as well as space for sports medicine, strength training, film study and recruiting.

The Alumni Memorial Gym was another indoor athletic facility. It was built in 1934 during a construction campaign under school president James D. Hoskins, and was replaced by the Stokely Athletics Center in 1967. The facility hosted the Southeastern Conference men's basketball tournament in 1936 and 1937 and again in 1939 and 1940. It is now used as a performing arts center and seats 1,000 spectators.

The swimming program trains at the Jones Aquatic Center, which is located adjacent to the existing Student Aquatic Center. This first-class complex is capable of hosting the Southeastern Conference and NCAA Championships, as well as national and international events. Also included in the new facility is a weight room, training room, and the University of Tennessee Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame.


Global Finals

The University of Tennessee is the current holder of the Destination Imagination Global Finals.Destination Imagination is a problem solving competition. Global Finals are held in the last week of May every year. Thousands of people from all over the world come to participate.

Clubs and organizations

The University of Tennessee has over 450 registered student organizations. These groups appeal to a multitude of interests and provide a variety of experiences for those interested in service, sports, arts, social activities, government, politics, cultural issues, Greek societies, and much more.

University students are active in several student media organizations. The Daily Beacon is an editorially independent student newspaper that has been published continuously since 1906. The university operates two radio stations: student-run The Rock (formerly the Torch) (WUTK-FM 90.3 MHz) and National Public Radio affiliate WUOT-FM 91.9 MHz. The university's first radio station was on the AM frequency 850 kHz, a donation from Knoxville radio station WIVK-AM/FM. The Phoenix, a literary art magazine, is published in the fall and spring semesters and showcases student artistic creativity. The Tennessee Journalist (TNJN) is an online news publication of the School of Journalism and Electronic Media and is a collaboration of regular editorial staff and student contributors, many of which receive classroom credit for their work.

The Daily Beacon

The editorially independent student newspaper of the University publishes 15,000 copies a day, five days a week, and has a staff of over 100 which includes an editorial team of 14, more than 60 staff writers, photographers, copyeditors, and other staff members during the Fall and Spring semesters. The paper publishes twice a week during the summer semester (May through August) and has significantly fewer staff writers during the summer.

The publication is part of a tradition which goes back in the semi-monthly publication of The University Times-Prospectus in 1871. The Orange and White followed in 1906 as a weekly publication and was later published semi-weekly. The Daily Beacon was established 61 years later under the management of alumnus David Hall (1965) and was published four times per week. Not long after, the paper began publishing issues five times a week. It publishes approximately 180 issues per academic year while classes are in session.

Religious institutions

Numerous religious centers are located on the campus, including the University of Tennessee's Christian Student Fellowship, the Knoxville campus' Non-Denominational Protestant Christian group, along with the Wesley Foundation (a United Methodist student center), The Baptist Collegiate Ministry, Pope John XXIII (a Catholic student center), and the Christian Student Center. Numerous other Christian clubs also exist on campus, which meet in various locations. Multiple other religions are represented as well.

Greek life

UT is home to 17 sororities and 30 fraternities. Fifteen of these fraternities currently have on-campus fraternity houses.


As of 2006, UT boasts 13 National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) sororities. Chi Omega first came to UT in 1900 followed in 1902 by Alpha Omicron Pi. Both organizations remain on the campus to this day. Currently the campus claims chapters of the following NPC sororities:

Sororities at UT do not have houses, but have space in the Panhellenic Building. The Panhellenic Building houses 14 of the 17 social sororities at UTK. Although the building is not a residence hall facility, each sorority has a suite consisting of a large living room, a kitchen, an office, and a storage area. The Panhellenic Affairs Office is located on the first floor of the building and serves as the center for coordinating all sorority activities. The office staff and student leaders are readily available to provide information concerning Panhellenic Council, any of the individual sororities, or the rush / recruitment registration process.

In addition to NPC sororities, UT also has 3 National Pan Hellenic Council (NHPC) sororities: Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, and Zeta Phi Beta. These sororities are governed by the Black Greek Letter Council. UT also has a chapter of Lambda Theta Alpha of the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations as well as Gamma Sigma Sigma National Service Sorority.


North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) fraternities at UT have an average size of 56 members. Sixteen campus fraternities have their own houses on campus. Notable alumni of the UT fraternal community include:

NIC fraternities

PFA fraternities

NPHC fraternities, governed by the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC)

NALFO (National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations) Fraternities

Other Fraternities


The University of Tennessee, as the second-oldest institution of higher learning in Tennessee, the 29th oldest in the United States, and the oldest secular college west of the Appalachian Mountains, has accumulated numerous traditions over its long history. Former university historian Milton M. Klein summarizes the history behind many school traditions on his homepage


Charles Moore, president of the university's athletic association, chose orange and white for the school colors on April 12, 1889. His inspiration is said to have come from orange and white daisies which grew on the Hill. To this day there are still orange and white flowers grown outside the University Center. Although students confirmed the colors at a special meeting in 1892, dissatisfaction caused the colors to be dropped. No other acceptable colors were agreed to, however, so the colors were reinstated one day later. Orange and white have remained the university colors since.

Pride of the Southland Band

The Pride of the Southland Band (or simply The Pride) is UT's marching band. As one of the oldest institutions at the University, the Band partakes in many of the game day traditions. At every home game, the Pride performs the "March to the Stadium" which includes a parade sequence and climaxes when the Band stops at the bottom of the Hill and performs the "Salute to the Hill," an homage to the history and legacy of the University. The Band is known for its pregame show at the beginning of every home game, which ends with the football team running onto the field through the "Opening of the T". This is one of the most photographed moments in football. Something the Pride does every year is the famous "Circle Drill". It is performed at least twice a year.

Fight song

Although it is the most famous song played by the Pride, "Rocky Top" is not the official fight song for the university. "Rocky Top" was written in only ten minutes by songwriters Felice and Boudleaux Bryant in 1967. The Bryants were working in Gatlinburg on a collection of slow-tempo songs for a project for Archie Campbell and Chet Atkins. Writing the fast-paced "Rocky Top" served as a temporary diversion for them. Known elsewhere in the United States as a bluegrass tune, the song did not become immensely popular until after 1972 when the Pride used it for one of their drills. The football crowd loved the tune and its words; the more the band played it, the more people wanted it. It has now become one of UT's best-known traditions. Its popularity extends beyond the campus of the University of Tennessee; "Rocky Top" became one of the Tennessee state songs in 1982. The popularity of the song among inebriated bar crowds was such in the 1970s that in its national tours the North Carolina old-time string band, The Red Clay Ramblers, for many years performed a satirical tune informally titled, "Play 'Rocky Top' (or I'll Punch Your Lights Out)."

The official fight song is actually "Down the Field," which is played when the Pride "Opens the T" for the team to run through at the end of their famous Pregame show, as well as when the Vols score a touchdown.


In 1953 the campus Pep Club sponsored a contest to have a live mascot. The hound was chosen since it is a native breed and its small stature and loud baying represent a unique combination. Announcements recruiting potential mascots in a local newspaper read, "This can't be an ordinary hound. He must be a 'Houn' Dawg' in the best sense of the word." The Rev. William C. "Bill" Brooks entered his prizewinning Bluetick Coonhound "Brooks' Blue Smokey," which won over the other eight contestants. Although he was the last hound to be introduced at the half-time contest, Smokey barked when his name was called. The students cheered and Smokey threw his head back and howled again and UT had its new mascot. The current mascot is Smokey IX. He is looked after by two student trainers from Alpha Gamma Rho, a national agricultural fraternity.


Tennessee is known as the "Volunteer State" for the overwhelming, unexpected number of Tennesseans who volunteered for duty in the American Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Texas Revolution (most notably the Battle of the Alamo) and especially the Mexican-American War, as well as an overwhelming number of citizens volunteering for both sides of the Civil War. A UT athletic team was dubbed the Volunteers for the first time in 1902 by the Atlanta Constitution following a football game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The Knoxville Journal and Tribune did not use the name until 1905. By the fall of 1905 both the Journal and the then-Sentinel were using the nickname. With the creation of women's athletics later in the 20th century, female athletic teams became known as the Lady Volunteers. All varsity teams continue to use their respective nicknames today, although often shortened by cheering fans to just "Vols" and "Lady Vols."

Notable people


See also

External links

Official websites

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