Featured photo: Floyd Flippin (UT Knoxville ’80, ’83)
By Courtney Brown | UT System Photos
It’s not unusual for Floyd Flippin to walk out of his law office in Gibson County and see people taking selfies.
“Everybody knows me as the UT guy,” says Flippin (Knoxville ’80, ’83).
In 2020, Flippin offered his Humboldt law office as a canvas for the then-new mural campaign spreading an extra layer of orange and white across the state. That mural and about 50 others by the end of year across the state proudly proclaim, “Everywhere You Look, UT.”
“The slogan promotes the fact that, everywhere you look across the state of Tennessee, you will find a connection to UT,” says UT System Executive Director of Marketing Ellie Dougherty (Knoxville ’04, ’10), who heads the campaign to spread awareness of the UT System’s impact on Tennesseans.
This campaign, inspired by the “See Rock City” murals, was launched by UT System’s Communications and Marketing team in 2018.
“When we started, our goal was to further the message of our marketing campaign. We wanted to use this creative and affordable partnership with passionate supporters of the university to create more recognizability for the marketing campaign,” Dougherty says.
With the goal to have a mural in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties by 2030, the campaign is on track to cross the halfway point this fall. If all goes to plan, there will be 48 counties with murals at the end of the year. (The difference between counties and number of murals is due to passionate UT friends paying for additional murals in their counties.) UT is on track to meet its goal.
UT System President Randy Boyd kicked off the campaign by providing a water tower he owned in downtown Knoxville. Since then, canvases for the orange-and-white paint have only grown more diverse: grain silos, a grain trailer, buildings, barns and even a helipad.
“Every time a story would go out in an alumni magazine, I’d get an email saying, ‘I read this article, I own this barn, and I’d love to talk to you about painting it,’” Dougherty says.
Joyce (Martin ’60) and Charles McBride (Martin ’60, Knoxville ’62) read about the campaign in The Cooperator, a Tennessee farming magazine, when family friend Keith Fowler was featured for the mural on his grain bin.
This fall, the McBride family’s barn became a canvas for a mural on the farm that has been in the family for more than 100 years and six generations.
“In our family, our three daughters, sons-in-law, four of our grandchildren and us are all graduates of UT,” says Joyce McBride.
“Alumni are by far the most passionate partners. We have a lot of multi-generational alumni families that have murals,” Dougherty says.
Three years later, Flippin remains passionate about the project.
“Just to be associated with the University of Tennessee in such a public way, that’s a blessing. I was thrilled to get picked, and people in my community are proud that Humboldt has it,” says Flippin.
Join the campaign! For information on mural locations or to submit a location, visit everywhere.tennessee.edu/murals/campaign/