After years of letters protesting the Tennessee Alumnus name, as it signiﬁes a single male graduate, as well as letters in support of maintaining a more than 100-year tradition, this spring we decided to survey the readers of our print magazine to obtain their thoughts. We emailed the survey to 16,000 randomly selected alumni readers and received about 1,600 responses. More than 50 percent approved changing the name, with 16 percent against it. The remainder signiﬁed the name of the magazine didn’t matter or they were unsure. As more than one respondent noted, as long as the content and quality remained the same, the name didn’t matter.
Strong opinions were written on both sides, but with a clear majority, we decided to continue weighing the matter.
We formed a committee with alumni from each campus, asked them to consider other names for the magazine or to keep Tennessee Alumnus as the name. Several survey respondents suggested we consider magazine names that would represent all of our campuses as well as be a strong identiﬁer of the UT System. In the same survey regarding the name change, we also requested name suggestions. After removing the names that were campus speciﬁc, we still had a lengthy list of suggestions and brainstormed some more. The committee narrowed the list to its top three, with Our Tennessee obtaining the top votes.
Our Tennessee includes all campuses and everyone within—UT is for all, and so this is Our Tennessee. It also alludes to the impact UT has on the state. As goes the University of Tennessee, so goes the state of Tennessee. It is our state, and we change it—and the world—with each degree awarded. In fact, this year we graduated a record number of 12,277 students—and 57 percent were female. The majority of students enrolling are female.
Additionally, retaining the word Tennessee pays homage to the magazine’s 104-year history and the part of the name that continues to serve its readers well. We are Tennessee. And this is Our Tennessee.
This magazine will continue to reﬂect UT and our alumni in Tennessee and around the world because this is still Our Tennessee, as you were forever changed by your time here.
Thank you to the alumni and many others who contributed their time and thoughtfulness as we contemplated this change. We exist to serve you, and we want to serve all of you well. We will continue to strive to tell well the stories of our alumni, faculty, students, institutes, campuses and research. For this is Our Tennessee.