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The University of Tennessee (also known as UT), sometimes called the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT Knoxville, or UTK) is a public land-grant university headquartered at Knoxvillemarker. Founded in 1794, it is the flagship institution of the statewide University of Tennessee system with nine undergraduate departments and eleven graduate departments and hosts almost 28,000 students from all 50 states and more than 100 foreign countries. In its 2009 ranking of universities, U.S. News & World Report ranked UT 118th among national universities and 52nd among public institutions of higher learning. Its ties to Oak Ridge National Laboratorymarker, established under UT President Andrew Holt and continued under the UT-Battelle partnership, have positioned the University as co-manager and allow for considerable research opportunities for faculty and students enjoyed by few other institutions of comparable standing.

Also affiliated with the University are the Howard H. Baker, Jr. Center for Public Policy, the University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility, and the University of Tennessee Arboretum, which occupies 250 acres of nearby Oak Ridge, Tennessee and features hundreds of species of plants indigenous to the region. The University is a direct partner of the University of Tennessee Medical Center, it is one of two Level I trauma center in the East Tennessee region and a self-proclaimed 'teaching hospital' due to its aggressive medical research programs and position as the primary career destination for most medical school graduates of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center at Memphis.

Known for its passionate football tradition, Tennessee's primary economic engine and largest institute of higher learning, the University was nearly destroyed during the Civil War, but rebounded with substantial growth during the Reconstruction era of the United States. The University of Tennessee is the only university in the nation to have three presidential papers editing projects and holds collections of the papers of all three U.S. presidents from Tennessee—Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson.


Founding and early days

On September 10, 1794, two years before Tennessee became a state and at a meeting of the legislature of the Southwest Territory at Knoxville, the University of Tennessee was chartered as Blount College. The new, all-male, non-sectarian institution struggled for 13 years with a small student body and faculty, and in 1807, the school was renamed East Tennessee College. When its first president and only faculty member died in 1809, the school was temporarily closed until 1820, and in 1840 was elevated to East Tennessee University. The school's status as a religiously non-affiliated institution of higher learning was unusual for the period of time in which it was chartered, and the school is generally recognized as the oldest such establishment of its kind west of the Appalachian Divide.

Civil War and reconstruction

East Tennessee was considered to be a bastion of Union sympathies throughout the American Civil War, although the University and the city of Knoxville were fairly divided for the duration of the conflict. As the threat of armed conflict between Union and Confederate forces loomed over the city of Knoxvillemarker, UT was forced to close its doors to students at the onset of the Siege of Knoxvillemarker and the campus's main buildings were requisitioned as hospitals and barracks. The school and its grounds suffered severe damage not only from the Battle of Fort Sandersmarker, but also from its unfortunate position between Union artillery based at Fort Sanders, situated immediately to the north of the 40 acre campus, and Fort Dickerson to south, overlooking the school from a bluff rising above the southern bank of the Tennessee River.

After being ravaged by war, the University saw its fortunes change dramatically in 1862 with the passage of the Morrill Act by the United States Congress, although it was not until 1869 that the law's designation of the school as a land-grant university became practical due to complications associated with the War and its aftermath. Federal funds and land were thus allocated to the University for the purposes of instructing students in military, agricultural, and mechanical subjects, and Trustees soon after approved the establishment of a medical program under the auspices of the Nashville School of Medicine and began the addition of advanced degree programs. In the same year, East Tennessee College was renamed the University of Tennessee.

Civil rights era

The first African Americans were admitted to the graduate and law schools by order of a federal district court in 1952. The first master's degree was awarded to a black student in 1954, and the first doctoral degree (Ed.D.) in 1959. Black undergraduates were not admitted until 1961; the first black faculty member was appointed in 1964. Integration went fairly smoothly; Black students had more difficulty gaining entry to eating establishments and places of entertainment off campus than they did attending class on campus. Overall, Knoxville and the University had fewer racial troubles in the 1950s and 1960s than did other southern universities.

Despite this climate, African-American attorney Rita Geier filed suit against the state of Tennessee in 1968 alleging that its higher education system remained segregated despite a federal mandate ordering desegregation. She claimed that the opening of a University of Tennessee campus at Nashville, Tennesseemarker would lead to the creation of another predominantly white institution that would strip resources from Tennessee State University, the only state-funded Historically black university. The suit was not settled until 2001, when the Geier Consent Decree resulted in the appropriation of $77 million in state funding to increase diversity among student and faculty populations among all Tennessee institutions of higher learning.

Statewide reorganization

Ayres Hall.
1968, the university underwent an administrative reorganization which left the Knoxville campus as the flagship and headquarters of its new "university system," comprising the UT Health Science Center at Memphis, a four-year college at Martinmarker, the formerly private University of Tennessee at Chattanoogamarker (added a year later), the UT Space Institute at Tullahoma, and the Knoxville-based College of Veterinary Medicine, Agriculture Institute, and Public Service Institute. An additional primary campus in Nashvillemarker had a brief existence from 1971 to 1979 before it was ordered closed and merged with Tennessee State Universitymarker.

The University of Tennessee's flagship campus in Knoxville hosts the Institute of Agriculture and the Institute for Public Service. The UT Health Science Center at Memphis and the UT Space Institute at Tullahomamarker are specialized campuses but are not separate institutions.



The University of Tennessee at Knoxville is the flagship campus of the statewide University of Tennessee system and is governed by a 26-member Board of Trustees appointed by the Governor of Tennessee.

Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek is the chief executive officer of the University's Knoxville campus, and is responsible for its daily administration and management. His position is that of an officer of the University of Tennessee system and his position is elected annually by the UT Board of Trustees at the recommendation of the President of the University, and Dr. Cheek is directly subordinate to Interim President Jan Simek. Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan Martin is responsible for the academic administration of the Knoxville campus and reports directly to the Chancellor.


University of Tennessee
    • Research Budget (2004):
      • Main campus: $109,525,996
      • Institute of Agriculture: $26,987,367
      • Experiment Station: $9,262,186
      • Extension: $14,000,673
      • Veterinary Medicine: $3,724,508
      • Institute for Public Service: $5,882,079
      • Space Institute: $2,552,297
      • Total: $307.9 million (2006)
    • Total Budget: $1.4 Billion (2006)

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (operated jointly by The University of Tennessee and Battelle Memorial Institute):
    • Research budget: $1.06 Billion (2006)
    • Total Budget: $2.5 Billion (2004)

According to the University's 2009 budget, state appropriations increased 26.4 percent from 2000 to 2009, although this amounts to only a 1.1 percent when adjusted for inflation.

University Medical Center

The University of Tennessee Medical Center, administered by University Health Systems and affiliated with the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, collaborates with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center to attract and train the majority of its medical staff. Many doctors and nurses at UTMC have integrated careers as teachers and healthcare professionals, and the center promotes itself as the area's only academic, or "teaching hospital." Serving on the UTMC Board of Directors are the President of the University of Tennessee, the Chancellor of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, and UT President Emeritus Joseph E. Johnson, Ph.D.

The University Medical Center is the primary referral center for Eastern Tennessee, Western North Carolinamarker, and Southeastern Kentuckymarker and along with Johnson City Medical Center, it is one of two Level I trauma center in the East Tennessee geographic region. Extensive expansion programs were embarked upon the 1990s and 2000s and saw the construction of two sprawling additions to the hospital's campus, a new Cancer Institute and a Heart Lung Vascular Institute. The region's first Heart Hospital is scheduled to open in 2010. The facility is served by LIFESTAR, a fleet of Bell helicopters providing aeromedical evacuation support within a 150-mile radius of Knoxville.

Students and faculty


Demographics of student body
Students U.S. Census
African American 7.0% 12.1%
Asian American 2% 4.3%
Caucasian 83.0% 65.8%
Hispanic American 1% 14.5%
Native American 0% 0.9%
International student 5.0% N/A

During the 2007-2008 academic calendar year, The University of Tennessee at Knoxville had a total enrollment of 21,132 undergraduate and 5,670 graduate and professional students. UT hosts students from all 50 U.S. states and more than 100 foreign countries, although the majority of undergraduates hail from the American Southeast states of Tennesseemarker, North Carolinamarker, Georgiamarker, and Virginiamarker, with more than 14,000 from Tennessee alone. 51% of students are female, 49% are male, and 16% of UT students identify themselves as non-caucasian.

UT offers its students more than 300 degree programs in its eleven colleges of: Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Communication and Information, Health, Education, and Human Sciences, Engineering, Law, Nursing, Social Work, and Veterinary Medicine, and offers two intercollegiate programs in Aviation Systems, through the University of Tennessee Space Institute at Tullahoma, and Cooperative and Experimental Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Tennesseemarker. The University employs 1,550 full-time faculty members, of whom 57% are tenured and 81% claim a Ph.D or other terminal degree in their respective fields. As of the 2007-2008 academic year, 71% of courses taken featured class sizes smaller than 30 students, and students at the Knoxville campus enjoy a 16:1 ratio of faculty-to-students.

The University is classified as 'more selective' by U.S. News, with a Fall 2007 acceptance rate of 71.2%. The average high school GPA was 3.6 for incoming Freshmen.


The University of Tennessee is ranked 52nd among public universities of America, and 118th among all United States universities. Specialty rankings are:

  • 1 UT's Physician Executive MBA program of the College of Business Administration according to Modern Physician.
  • 1 UT MBA program in alumni value (value for the money) three years after graduation, according to Financial Times Global Business School Rankings.
  • 1 Winningest College Basketball Coach in history.
  • 2 UT's College of Architecture and Design out of Southern Universities according to the journal DesignIntelligence in its publication "America's Best Architecture & Design Schools".
  • 2 The supply chain management/logistics programs as published in Supply Chain Management Review.
  • 3 UT graduate program in printmaking by U.S. News & World Report.
  • 5 UT MBA program overall among U.S. Public Universities according to Wall Street Journal 2005.
  • 5 Best Athletic Facilities according to the Princeton Review.
  • 6 UT's senior executive MBA program in alumni goal achievement and satisfaction, according to the Financial Times.
  • 7 The supply chain management/logistics programs in the UT College of Business Administration, according to U.S. News & World Report.
  • 7 The pharmacy program, according to U.S. News & World Report.
  • 9 UT Health Science Center Department of Ophthalmology by Ophthalmology Times.
  • 9 UT's Athletic Program by the Hall of Fame's ranking of Top Collegiate Athletic Programs.
  • 9 Best Parties according to Playboy Magazine.
  • 10 UT College of Law, in the National Jurist Best School for the Money ratings, and the clinical training specialty is ranked 19th while the college's overall graduate program is ranked 53rd in the U.S.
  • 10 UT's Nuclear Engineering graduate program, according to U.S. News and World Report.
  • 15 Most Fraternity & Sorority friendly according to the Princeton Review.
  • 16 Least Tolerant of Homosexuality according to the Princeton Review (note: UT's one of only 3 public universities within the top 16, the other 12 are private religiously affiliated universities).
  • 19 Most Athletic Student Body according to the Princeton Review.
  • 25 Most Attractive Student Body by AOL Time Warner's PopCrunch Magazine.
  • 26 UT's College of Social Work, according to U.S. News & World Report.
  • 35 UT's College of Education, Health and Human Science.
  • 45 UT Master of Fine Arts program by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Neyland Stadiummarker is ranked as the World's Best College Football Stadium. And Sports Illustrated also says that Tennessee Volunteers' Gameday is the World's Best College Football Experience.
  • The John C. Hodges Library ranks among the top 30 public research libraries of the United States.
  • The Joel A. Katz Law Library in the UT College of Law is ninth best in the nation according to National Jurist magazine.
  • The University of Tennessee is ranked as a Best Southeastern College by the Princeton Review.
UT's College of Law


The total research endowment of the UT Knoxville campus was $127,983,213 for FY 2006. UT Knoxville boasts several faculty who are among the leading contributors to their fields, including Dr. Harry McSween, generally recognized as one of the world's leading experts in the study of meteorites and a member of the science team for Mars Pathfinder and later a co-investigator for the Mars Odyssey and Mars Exploration Rovers projects. The University also hosts Professor of Religious Studies Dr. Rosalind I. J. Hackett, President of the International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR) and a leading expert in the study of African religions, as well as Dr. Barry T. Rouse, an international award-winning Distinguished Professor of Microbiology who has conducted multiple NIHmarker-funded studies on the herpes simplex virus (HSV) and who is a leading researcher in his field. UT's agricultural research programs are considered to be among the most accomplished in the nation, and the School of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources is home to the East Tennessee Clean Fuels Initiative, recognized by the United States Department of Energy as the "best local clean fuels program in America."

Oak Ridge National Laboratory
The major hub of research at the University of Tennessee is Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), one of the largest government laboratories in the United States. ORNL is a major center of civilian and governmental research and features one of the world's most powerful supercomputers. The University is a participant in the Open Science Grid which allows physicists to process data from the Large Hadron Collidermarker in Switzerlandmarker. Also at ORNL is one of the world's most powerful scientific instruments, the Spallation Neutron Sourcemarker, which is expected to become an integral tool for the development of advanced materials technologies such as smart materials and attracts both American and international researchers to the East Tennessee region.

Howard Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy
The Howard H. Baker, Jr. Center for Public Policy began its activities at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in early 2003. The mission of the Baker Center is to develop programs and promote research to further the public's knowledge of the American system of governance, and also to explore the importance of public service. The Baker Center places a special emphasis on examining the role of the media in society and maintains and promotes research in the papers of Howard Baker and other political collections at the University of Tennessee. It hosts public programs on issues of local, regional, national, and international significance which focus upon a wide array of topics, with special interest given to the role of the media.

The Baker Center creates a number of individual and recurring publications for students, faculty, community members and policy makers. Its most prestigious publication, the Baker Center Journal of Applied Public Policy, is published twice a year, but Baker Center fellows often publish editorials and articles on a more regular basis. Many of the Center's conferences produce policy publications designed to address problems and to produce applicable, real world solutions.

Campus layout and organization

The university traces its roots to September 10, 1794, two years before Tennessee was admitted to the Union as the 16th state, when Blount College was established by the legislature of the Southwest Territory as one of the first three colleges chartered west of the Appalachian Mountains. At this time, Knoxville was the territorial capital and the area of land occupied by the University was largely farmland bordering a broad stretch of the Tennessee River . In 1807 the school was rechristened East Tennessee College and in 1828 was moved from Gay Street in downtown Knoxville to a 40 acre (160,000 m²) tract known as Barbara Hill, named in honor of Governor Blount's daughter, and was renamed East Tennessee University in 1848. Known to students and alumni today as simply "The Hill," it is only a small part of the Knoxville campus but constitutes a veritable acropolis of expansive and well-preserved red-brick buildings. Construction of the iconic Ayers Hall was completed in 1921 following the Tennessee State Legislature's first $1 million appropriation, and today that structure remains the most widely recognized symbol of the flagship Knoxville campus.

Main Campus

The main Knoxville campus can be divided into three distinct blocks of housing, academic, and athletic structures. Two main avenues of traffic, Volunteer Boulevard and Andy Holt Avenue bisect the campus, intersecting with smaller side streets. The majority of dormitories share a north street face along Andy Holt Avenue, which is broken by the Pedestrian Mall and Walkway between the John C. Hodges Library and the Humanities Plaza complex. The terrain of the campus is mostly hilly in its outlay and the school is bound by the Tennessee River to the South and a section of U.S. Route 70 to the North. Known to Knoxvillians as Cumberland Avenue and to UT students and faculty simply as "The Strip," this roughly half-mile stretch of road is home to the majority of local businesses and eateries serving the University population and is a popular entertainment venue throughout the year.

A number of capital improvement project were undertaken in the 1990s and 2000s and resulted in major additions to the campus, including the James A. Haslam II Business Building, the Howard H. Baker, Jr. Center for Public Policy Building, and the Joe Johnson and John Ward Pedestrian Mall that replaced a section of Andy Holt Avenue which had previously separated the central student study hub of John C. Hodges Library from the heavily trafficked Humanities Plaza office and classroom complex. That project was a significant beautification effort which established a central, tree-lined commons area for the Knoxville campus, complete with an amphitheater and a large expanse of open green space with a panoramic vista of The Hill and downtown Knoxvillemarker.

The campus is well served by the "T," a fleet of brightly painted orange buses operated by biodiesel fuels, transporting University faculty, students, and staff at no charge. The "T-Link" is an on-call taxi service available after dark to students who are not comfortable traveling alone on campus or through adjoining residential neighborhoods such as the popular Fort Sanders, and is offered at no charge to students who present a valid UT student ID card.

Agricultural Campus

The University of Tennessee Agricultural Campus is directly adjacent to the main Knoxville campus and is home to the largest potion of the University's principle agricultural and natural sciences research infrastructure, but occupies only a fraction of the total lands held by the University for research purposes. The Ag Campus is the site of UT's Plant Biotech Building and associated facilities, the Biosystems Engineering and Environmental Sciences facility, UT's College of Veterinary Medicine and its associated teaching hospital of veterinary medicine, the Pendergrass Library Agricultural and Veterinary Medicine Library, the Tennessee Division of Forestry, UT's new Business Incubator, built in conjunction with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Forestry Products and Resources facility, vast greenhouses and growth chambers, and the administrative offices and multiple classroom halls devoted to UT's College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Numerous sites further afield, in both Knox Countymarker and Blount Countymarker are held by the University and are devoted to multiple endeavors of agricultural and forestry sciences, including the cultivation and research of forestry products and the production of biofuels. The UT Gardens occupy the portion of the Ag Campus bordering the Tennessee River and feature hundreds of species of native plants and constitute a sizable arboretum that is open to University affiliates and the public throughout the year.

The University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility, nicknamed the "Body Farm", is located near the University of Tennessee Medical Center on Alcoa Highway (US 129). Founded by Dr. William M. Bass in 1972, the Body Farm endeavors to increase anthropological and forensic knowledge specifically related to the decomposition of the human body and is one of the leading centers for such research in the United States.
Looking westward at the University Mall.

Cherokee Research Campus

On March 16, 2009, the University broke ground on a 188 acre campus in downtown Knoxville which will feature new, world-class facilities devoted to the pursuit of nanotechnology, neutron science, and materials sciences, energy and climate studies, environmental science, and biomedical science. This new hub will dramatically expand the University's research capacity, and operations will be a collaboration between the University, Oak Ridge National Laboratorymarker, the State of Tennessee, and the private sector. Currently, 16 research and support structures have been designed for the campus, and the master plan allows for the development of more, as well as expansion of existing facilities once they are built. Construction is scheduled to begin on campus infrastructure in August 2009.

Campus master plan

The University has implemented a 25-year (2001-2026) campus master plan that will facilitate a sweeping overhaul of campus design. The plan is designed to make the campus more pedestrian-friendly by establishing large areas of open green space and relegating parking facilities to the periphery of the campus, and to increase the aesthetic appeal of the school by establishing uniform building design codes and by physically remodeling, restoring, and expanding existing academic, athletic, and housing facilities. Centrally located, iconic Ayers Hall is currently undergoing a massive upgrade as part of Phase I of the project, with work expected to be completed around 2011. A new university center is planned, along with substantial new facilities for science, the performing arts, and athletics. An expected 3,000 new parking spaces will be developed along with improved mass transit and walking spaces. The plan calls for the removal of many of the roads that bisect the campus, along with the development of two new quads, one each on the main and agricultural campuses. Restoration and renovations of existing campus buildings are expected to be conducted in concert with historical preservationists when appropriate, according to the 2001 Master Plan document.

Student life


Pedestrian Mall and Amphitheater

The Pedestrian Mall and its adjoining, grassy amphitheater is the most popular student gathering point on campus, situated between the John C. Hodges Library and the Humanities Plaza complex of McClung Tower and the Humanities classroom building. Studying, kite-flying, protests, proselytizing, hammock lounging, picnics, sunbathing, frisbee, barbecues, and free concerts are common activities that occur throughout the academic year and beyond.


Students and faculty not affiliated with the athletic department enjoy free use of the state-of-the-art Tennessee Recreational Center for Students, known universally on campus as "T-RECS." T-RECS offers an Olympic-sized swimming pool, four indoor basketball courts, more than 80 cardiovascular exercise stations with access to an in-house entertainment center and XM radio, more than 100 strength training centers, multiple banks of free weights, and a Smoothie King. T-RECS patrons may borrow a variety of equipment for outdoor activities such as soccer and tennis for no charge.

International House

The International House is a popular gathering place for visiting international students and delegations and University of Tennessee students who have previously or are currently interested in studying abroad through the Programs Abroad Office. A full kitchen, meeting rooms, and a library provide support for frequent cultural events ranging from salsa dance lessons and nation-themed culture nights to Peace Corps interest meetings.

Black Cultural Center

The Black Cultural Center, or BCC, houses the Office of Minority Student Affairs and offers a student computer lab, free Spanish tutoring, and a textbook loan service for economically disadvantaged students. There is a small but well-stocked library featuring numerous works examining religious and minority issues, and the facility offers free use of its meeting rooms to campus organizations and their affiliates.


The University of Tennessee has over 450 registered student organizations. These groups cater to a variety of interests and provide options for those interested in service, sports, arts, social activities, government, politics, cultural issues, and Greek societies.

The University of Tennessee hosts the Destination Imagination Global Finals, a problem solving competition held annually during the last week of May. The event draws thousands of young students and their families to Knoxville and is a significant event for the campus after the end of each academic year. Numerous religious centers are located along "Church Row," including the University of Tennessee's Christian Student Fellowship, the Knoxville campus' Non-Denominational Protestant Christian group, the Wesley Foundation (a United Methodist student center), Pope John XXIII (a Catholic student center), and the Christian Student Center.

The university operates two radio stations: student-run The Rock (formerly the Torch) (WUTK-FMmarker 90.3 MHz) and National Public Radio affiliate WUOT-FMmarker 91.9 MHz. The university's first radio station was on the AM frequency 850 kHz, a donation from Knoxville radio station WIVK-AM/FM. The Phoenix, a literary art magazine, is published in the fall and spring semesters and showcases student artistic creativity. The Tennessee Journalist (TNJN) is an online news publication of the School of Journalism and Electronic Media and is a collaboration of regular editorial staff and student contributors, many of whom receive classroom credit for their work.

The Daily Beacon

The editorially independent student newspaper of the University publishes 15,000 copies a day, five days a week, and claims a staff of over 100 consisting of an editorial team of 14, more than 60 staff writers, photographers, copyeditors, and others during the Fall and Spring semesters. The paper publishes twice weekly during the summer semester (May through August) and has significantly fewer staff writers at that time.

The publication began as a semi-monthly publication under the name The University Times-Prospectus in 1871. The Orange and White followed in 1906 as a weekly publication and was later published semi-weekly. The Daily Beacon was established 61 years later under the management of alumnus David Hall (1965) and was published four times per week and soon saw publication each day of the academic week. Approximately 180 issues per academic year are published while classes are in session.

Greek institutions

The University of Tennessee hosts eighteen sororities and twenty-nine fraternities, listed with dates of charter (when available).

Chi Omega 1900, Alpha Omicron Pi 1902, Zeta Tau Alpha 1904, Phi Mu 1908, Alpha Delta Pi 1920, Delta Delta Delta 1923, Sigma Kappa 1924, Kappa Delta 1925, Delta Zeta 1933, Delta Gamma 1947, Pi Beta Phi 1948, Alpha Chi Omega 1961, Kappa Kappa Gammamarker 1967, Alpha Kappa Alpha 1970, Delta Sigma Theta 1975, Zeta Phi Beta, Lambda Theta Alpha 2001, and Gamma Sigma Sigma, a National Service Sorority.
Ayres Hall as seen from Neyland Stadium.

Alpha Epsilon Pi, Alpha Gamma Rho, Alpha Tau Omega, Beta Theta Pi, Chi Phi, Delta Tau Delta, FarmHouse, Alpha Gamma Rho, Kappa Alpha Order, Kappa Sigma, Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Gamma Delta, Phi Delta Theta, Phi Kappa Psi, Phi Kappa Tau, Phi Sigma Kappa, Pi Kappa Alpha, Pi Kappa Phi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Chi, Sigma Nu, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Alpha Phi Alpha, Phi Beta Sigma, Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Iota Phi Theta, Lambda Theta Phi, Phi Mu Alpha, and Phi Eta Sigma.


The University of Tennessee has a strong Residence Hall Association. Created in 1972 as the Inter-Residence Halls Council, the IRHC changed its name to the United Residence Halls Council (URHC) the next year. URHC sponsors many events focusing on various aspects of on-campus living throughout the fall and spring semesters. In addition, URHC serves as an advocacy board for all on-campus residents. Residents can use URHC as a vehicle to promote positive change on campus.

URHC is the second largest student organization on campus with roughly all 7,000 on-campus residents enjoying full membership. Each of the thirteen residence halls has its own RHA hosting smaller scale, more hall specific programs. Each RHA has its own executive board to govern the activities of its residence hall. Each RHA's budget consists of $11 per bed that is allocated from each student's housing activities fee. The URHC holds bimonthly general body meetings that are open to all residents.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville is also affiliated with the National Association of College and University Residence Halls (NACURH) as well as the South Atlantic Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls (SAACURH). Currently UTK is the host institution of the NACURH Services and Recognition Office (NSRO), a national office that changes host institutions every two years.


Tennessee competes in the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division, along with Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt, and has longstanding football rivalries with each. The Volunteers won the 1998 NCAA Division I-A National Championship in football, and the team is noted for its 1938, 1940, 1950, 1951, 1967, and 1998 National Championship victories. The Volunteers were coached by Phillip Fulmer until 2008 when Lane Kiffin was officially announced as the new head coach of the Vols on December 1. Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning and the late NFL Hall of Famemarker player Reggie White are among the numerous NFL athletes to begin their careers at the University of Tennessee. The men's basketball program is headed by Bruce Pearl, and in 2008 the Vols won their first SEC regular season championship in 41 years.

The Tennessee Lady Volunteers won eight NCAA Division I titles (1987, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2007, 2008), the most in women's college basketball history and are led by Pat Summitt, the all-time winningest basketball coach in NCAA history. Her 1000th victory occurred on February 5, 2009, and she boasts a 100 percent graduation rate for all players who finish their career at UT. The main women's basketball rivals for Tennessee within the conference are Georgia, Vanderbilt, and LSU.

UT's best-known athletic facility by far is Neyland Stadiummarker, home to the football team, which seats over 107,000 people and is one of the country's largest facilities of its type. The stadium is currently undergoing a $200 million renovation with construction expected to last into the 2010s [37218]. The Volunteers and Lady Vols basketball teams play in Thompson-Boling Arenamarker, the largest arena (by capacity) ever built specifically for basketball in the United States. Both basketball teams currently train at the adjacent Pratt Pavilion, a $20 million dollar facility opened in 2008 which houses two full size gymnasia, one each for the men and women varsity basketball teams, and space for sports medicine, strength training, film study, and recruiting.

The swimming program trains at the Jones Aquatic Center, which is directly adjacent to the Student Aquatic Center. This first-class complex is capable of hosting the Southeastern Conference and NCAA Championships, as well as national and international events. Also included in the new facility is a weight room, training room, and the University of Tennessee Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame.


The University of Tennessee, as the second-oldest institution of higher learning in Tennessee, the 29th oldest in the United States, and the oldest secular college west of the Appalachian Mountainsmarker, has accumulated numerous traditions over more than 200 years.


Charles Moore, president of the university's athletic association, chose orange and white for the school colors on April 12, 1889. His inspiration is said to have come from orange and white daisies which grew on the Hill. To this day there are still orange and white flowers grown outside the University Center. Although students confirmed the colors at a special meeting in 1892, dissatisfaction caused the colors to be dropped. No other acceptable colors were agreed to, however, so the colors were reinstated one day later and orange and white have remained the university colors since.

Pride of the Southland Band

The Pride of the Southland Band (or simply The Pride) is UT's marching band. As one of the oldest institutions at the University, the Band partakes in many of the game day traditions. At every home game, the Pride performs the "March to the Stadium" which includes a parade sequence and climaxes when the Band stops at the bottom of the Hill and performs the "Salute to the Hill," an homage to the history and legacy of the University. The Band is known for its pregame show at the beginning of every home game, which ends with the football team running onto the field through the "Opening of the T". This is one of the most photographed moments in football. Something the Pride does every year is the famous "Circle Drill". It is performed at least twice a year, with only one home performance.

Fight song

Although it is most frequently played song at football games on campus, "Rocky Top" is not the official fight song for the University. "Rocky Top" was written in only ten minutes by songwriters Felice and Boudleaux Bryant in 1967 while they were working in Gatlinburgmarker on a collection of slow-tempo songs for a project for Archie Campbell and Chet Atkins. Writing the fast-paced "Rocky Top" served as a temporary diversion for them. Known elsewhere in the United States as a bluegrass tune, the song did not become popular until after 1972 when the Pride first introduced it during a routine drill. Its popularity now extends beyond the campus of the University of Tennessee; "Rocky Top" became one of the Tennessee state songs in 1982. The popularity of the song among inebriated bar crowds was such in the 1970s that in its national tours the North Carolina string band, The Red Clay Ramblers, for many years performed a satirical tune informally titled, "Play 'Rocky Top' (or I'll Punch Your Lights Out)."

The official fight song is actually "Down the Field," which is played when the Pride "Opens the T" for the team to run through at the end of their famous Pregame show, as well as when the Vols score a touchdown.


In 1953 the campus Pep Club sponsored a contest to have a live mascot. The hound was chosen after announcements recruiting potential mascots in a local newspaper read, "This can't be an ordinary hound. He must be a 'Houn' Dawg' in the best sense of the word." The Rev. William C. "Bill" Brooks entered his prizewinning Bluetick Coonhound "Brooks' Blue Smokey," which won against other eight contestants. According to a popular tale, Smokey barked when his name was called at half-time contest and students cheered as Smokey threw his head back and howled again, and UT thus claimed its new mascot. The current mascot is Smokey IX and is cared for by two student trainers from Alpha Gamma Rho, a national agricultural fraternity.


Tennessee is known as the "Volunteer State" for the disproportionately large number of Tennesseans who volunteered for duty in the American Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Texas Revolution (most notably the Battle of the Alamomarker) and especially the Mexican-American War, as well as an overwhelming number of citizens who volunteered for both sides of the Civil War. A UT athletic team was dubbed the Volunteers for the first time in 1902 by the Atlanta Constitution following a football game against the Georgia Techmarker Yellow Jackets, although the Knoxville Journal and Tribune did not use the name until 1905. By the fall of 1905 both the Journal and the then-Sentinel were using the nickname. With the creation of women's athletics later in the 20th century, female athletic teams became known as the Lady Volunteers. All varsity teams continue to use their nicknames today, although often shortened to simply "Vols" or "Lady Vols."

Notable people

Image:MRSeddon.jpg|Margaret Rhea Seddon, U.S. AstronautImage:Kurt Vonnegut at CWRU.jpg|Kurt Vonnegut, American NovelistImage: Pat-Summitt-Walter-Reed-Center-06-24-08-2.jpg|Pat Summitt, NCAA CoachImage: ClarenceBrown.jpg|Clarence Brown, American Film DirectorImage:Lamar Alexander official portrait.jpg|Lamar Alexander, U.S. SenatorImage:Toddhelton1.jpg|Todd Helton, MLB first basemanImage:Peyton Manning.jpg|Peyton Manning, NFL quarterbackImage: Scott Simmons.jpg Scott Simmons, United States Congressman from Idaho

References and notes


See also

External links

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