UT Day on the Hill

About 30 students and staff from all UT campuses and institutes joined President Joe DiPietro to advocate for the university at the annual UT Day on the Hill on Feb. 18 in Nashville. While staffing informational displays representing each campus and institute, participants chatted with legislators about UT’s impact statewide in research, education and outreach. Former Vol Inky Johnson, whose athletic career was ended by a life-threatening injury during a 2006 football game, was featured guest at a luncheon for legislators. Johnson’s personal story of overcoming adversity and fierce loyalty to his alma mater prompted Sen. Education Committee Chair Dolores Gresham to remark, “He made us feel like it was our obligation to make the University of Tennessee the absolute best university that it could ever be, to be worthy of him.”

VP of Diversity Retires

Vice President of Equity and Diversity Theotis Robinson, who spent 25 years at UT, retired earlier this year. Robinson spent the last 14 years as a vice president and member of the UT System Administration executive team. Robinson and two other students became the first African American undergraduates admitted to UT. UT System oversight of equity and diversity has been shifted to human resources following Robinson’s departure.

The First Degree

About 1,300 students are expected to benefit each year from a new “reverse transfer” process for awarding associate degrees to students who transfer from Tennessee’s two- to four-year schools before graduation and meet requirements while pursuing bachelor’s degrees. Reverse transfer will help increase the number of Tennesseans with degrees and is the result of a UT-led partnership between the state’s public and private colleges and universities. A nearly $400,000 grant from Lumina Foundation is accelerating the process, expected in spring 2015.  Reverse transfer is shown to increase four-year graduation rates by 10 percent.

Countdown to 100: Tennessee Alumnus 1917-2017

FROM THE ARCHIVES: In fall 1934, Col. David Carpenter Chapman, a 1897 graduate of UT,  and other alumni led the charge to help establish the Great Smoky Mountains National Park by securing the final portion of land for the park. Upon chartering, the national park became the sixth largest park and the 22nd established national park, a monumental achievement for the state of Tennessee.