First-Generation Students Honored

On Nov. 8, the campus for the first time joined in the celebration of National First-Generation College Student Day. The event focused attention on first-generation students as well as the support and resources available to them on campus. About one-fourth of UT Knoxville students come from homes where neither parent has a four-year degree; about 10 percent of freshmen who entered in fall 2018 have parents who never attended college. Interim Chancellor Wayne T. Davis—a first-generation student himself—participated in the festivities, which included a pizza lunch at the Rock, a hot-chocolate bar and specially designed “First Gen” T-shirts and pins.

Work Begins on New Engineering Facility

UT Knoxville leaders break ground on a new engineering building.

Dignitaries and alumni, including Tickle College of Engineering eponym John D. Tickle, were on hand Sept. 28 as UT broke ground on a new engineering facility at the southeast corner of Neyland Stadium. The 228,000-square-foot building will be home to the Jerry E. Stoneking engage program, the Joseph C. and Judith E. Cook Grand Challenge Honors Program, the Min H. and Yu-Fan Kao Innovation and Collaboration Studio, the Department of Nuclear Engineering, and laboratories for advanced engineering research. The building’s $129 million construction costs are being funded with $90 million provided by the state, nearly $29 million from university sources and $10 million from private donors as part of the university’s Join the Journey campaign.

Baker Center Marks Anniversaries

Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy

The Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy recently celebrated its 15th anniversary and the 10th year in its stately building at the corner of Melrose and Cumberland avenues. In 2001, UT received a congressionally authorized Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) grant to create the center, which was established in 2003. One of its first major projects established the center’s Modern Political Archives, which include the papers of Baker and other accomplished state political leaders. The Baker Center was initially housed in Hoskins Library. Construction on the current 52,000-square-foot building began in 2005, the year Baker turned 80. The groundbreaking festivities were attended by then-Vice President Dick Cheney. The building opened in 2008 with a fireworks-capped ribbon cutting at which retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor spoke. The bipartisan center advocates for open discussion, unbiased research and the importance of public service—all of which embody the spirit of Baker.