On September 10, 1794, at the edge of the American frontier, a spark of an idea was kindled. That flame has grown into a beacon that continues to grow stronger.

    What began as Blount College centuries ago is now Tennessee’s flagship university and premier public research institution, and Volunteers have been lighting the way for others, in Tennessee and throughout the world, for 225 years. Today, UT educates more students, conducts more groundbreaking research, and receives more support from stakeholders than at any other time in its history.

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  • It’s hard to imagine what Blount College’s first scholars in 1794 would say about the university’s current research efforts in areas like artificial intelligence, driverless cars, advanced materials manufacturing, and big data. But many of the programs and courses upon which our innovation efforts rely have been a foundation of education at the institution from the very beginning.

  • In 1859, US Representative Justin Morrill helped shape the future of Tennessee and the rest of the nation with the idea that higher education should be available to everyone. President Abraham Lincoln signed into law the Morrill Act of 1862, which established land-grant colleges to teach agriculture and the mechanical arts to anyone who desired to learn, not just the privileged. The spirit of the “people’s colleges” continues at UT today through teaching, research, and extension work.

  • On January 4, 1961, Theotis Robinson Jr. arrived on campus as an undergraduate student. It was his application and subsequent meetings with UT administrators, including President Andy Holt, that led to the change in the admissions policy that barred black undergraduate students.

  • As a land-grant university, UT has always been committed to creating opportunities for more Tennesseans to receive an affordable high-quality education, and the funding of scholarships is one of the ways this accessibility is accomplished.