News and Notes

News and Notes

Be Part of the Community

Have you joined the UT online community? When you do, you can:

  • get a permanent UT e-mail address.
  • locate old friends in the online directory.
  • write your own online class note.
  • keep up with alumni activities.

For alumni of the Knoxville and Memphis campuses, go to UT Chattanooga grads go to UT Martin alumni go to If you’re a first-time visitor, you’ll have to register, and you must be a UT alumnus to use the site. (You are an alumnus if you completed at least 24 credit hours.)

$50 Million Gift Benefits Academics and Athletics

Veterinary medicine, engineering, and Neyland Stadium will benefit from a $50-million anonymous gift to UT–the largest personal contribution in university history.

The donors notified President John Petersen that half the gift is to be targeted to specific initiatives in Veterinary Medicine and the College of Engineering, while the other half is to be designated for intercollegiate athletics, including the renovations to historic Neyland Stadium.

When Petersen made the announcement, he acknowledged the curiosity he knew the gift would generate. He told the Associated Press, “I know I will be pestered, but when somebody says ‘I want to give you $50 million and I want to be anonymous,’ am I going to argue?”

The gift is part of the university’s capital campaign. The initial installment will be $10 million. The other $40 million will be in an estate gift, funding specific programs and initiatives developed over time in the donors’ areas of interest.

“This is a tremendous validation of the good work already taking place on our campuses and a testament to the fact that private individuals recognize the power of philanthropy in impacting the future of UT and in turn the development of the entire state of Tennessee,” said Petersen.

The anonymous gift comes on the heels of Knoxville philanthropists Jim and Natalie Haslam’s commitment of $32.5 million, previously the largest individual gift. “Just as we hoped that our commitment would encourage others to support our great university, I’m sure that these anonymous donors would want someone else to come forward and eclipse even this incredible gift,” said Haslam.

UT’s campaign, currently in its “silent phase,” reaped commitments exceeding $400 million through October 2006. UT officials have not yet publicly announced a campaign goal.

“For UT to achieve its truly desired impact in the region, state, and nation, private support will be essential, but it cannot replace state support in funding the operating requirements of the university,” Petersen said. “The entire university community salutes these visionary anonymous leaders who with this commitment have personally challenged the institution to continue to lead our state into the twenty-first century.”

Kosten Endowment Helps Stricken Families

Helping pancreatic cancer patients and their families is the focus of the new Herb Kosten Pancreatic Cancer Support Endowment at the UT Health Science Center in Memphis. Dr. Stephen Behrman, associate professor of surgery in the College of Medicine, has been selected to help direct the new endowment.

“Our family wants to honor Herb’s memory by enabling Dr. Behrman to enhance his pancreatic cancer research and develop outreach programs for pancreatic cancer patients and their families,” said Alan Kosten, brother of Herb Kosten, who died of the disease at age 67.

Behrman has established a support group for patients with pancreatic disease and plans to recruit nationally recognized leaders in pancreatic cancer research to headline an annual symposium on the subject. The endowment will support fellowship training for future pancreatic surgeons and allow Behrman to continue his research.

Herb Kosten was a multisport star at Central High School in Memphis in the 1950s and was later named to the all-century University of Alabama baseball team.