Margaret Perry Makes History

Margaret Perry, sixth chancellor of UT Martin, watches children play outside the children's center that would be named for her.

Margaret Perry, sixth chancellor of UT Martin, watches children play outside the children's center that would be named for her.

Margaret Perry served as UT Martin’s sixth chancellor from 1986 to 1997. She was the first woman to serve as an executive officer in the University of Tennessee System and any four-year public institution in Tennessee.

Perry graduated with a bachelor’s degree in home economics from UT Martin in 1961, earned her master’s degree in nutrition from UT Knoxville in 1963 and completed her doctorate in nutrition and food science from UT Knoxville in 1965.

Perry led UT Martin through the economic downturn of the late 1980s, which saw a decline in the student population. Recovery in the 1990s resulted in a rebound in student enrollment and a renovated Paul Meek Library, Boling University Center and Johnson Engineering and Physical Sciences Building.

An on-site children’s center opened in 1993 in response to the growth in nontraditional students and student-parents at UT Martin. In 1998, it was renamed the Margaret N. Perry Children’s Center. It remains a day-care facility, pre-school and school for children with special needs to this day.

Additional contributions Perry made during her tenure include approving new degree programs like a bachelor’s degree in engineering, surpassing funding goals for the university system’s 21st Century Campaign and transitioning university athletics into Division I and the Ohio Valley Conference.

After serving 11 years as chancellor—the second-longest chancellor term service in UT Martin history—Perry was awarded the title of chancellor emeritus upon her retirement in 1997.

From the Archives

Winter 2010 cover: illustration of Tennessee wildlife

The Tennessee Alumnus Winter 2010 issue offers its take on the places and things that make the Volunteer State special.

This issue describes iconic locations across the state, features historic map collections of Tennessee and highlights the volunteer work of UT alumni chapters in their communities. The cover illustrates points of Tennessee pride and history in a custom map by artist Danny Wilson (Knoxville ’84).

Feature stories draw attention to the value of online classes at UT, explain how the UT Health Science Center’s College of Dentistry contributes to an oral health initiative, honors winners of the 2009 UT Development Council’s Awards and more.

Our Tennessee was published as the Tennessee Alumnus from 1917 through 2020, with the name changing in 2021. Scanned archives of past issues of Our Tennessee can be accessed online through UT Knoxville’s Digital Collections Library.