The University of Tennessee at Martin (UT–Martin, UT Martin, or UTM) is a campus in the University of Tennessee system in the United States. Other campuses include the flagship campus in Knoxville, the Chattanooga campus, the Center for the Health Sciences in Memphis, and the Space Institute in Tullahoma. UTM is the only public four-year university in West Tennessee outside Memphis.
UT Martin is featured in U.S. News & World Report top-tier ranking for southern master’s institutions in the 2013 edition of America’s Best Colleges. The Princeton Review also named UT Martin “A Best Southeastern College” for 2013 and among the nation’s “Best Value” colleges and universities in the book The Best Value Colleges: 2012 Edition (one of two public universities in Tennessee included in the listing); And, for the sixth consecutive year, UT Martin is listed among America’s 100 Best College Buys, a listing by Institutional Research and Evaluation, Inc.
UTM operates a large experimental farm and several satellite centers in West Tennessee.
Although UT-Martin dates from 1927, it is not the first educational institution to use the current site. In 1900, Ada Gardner Brooks donated a site on what was then the outskirts of Martin to the Tennessee Baptist Convention for the purposes of opening a school. The school opened as the Hall-Moody Institute, named for two locally prominent Baptist ministers. It originally offered 13 years of study, from elementary grades to the equivalent of the first years of collegiate work. The institute changed its name to Hall-Moody Normal School in 1917, as teacher training became its primary focus. Five years later, Hall-Moody changed its name again to Hall-Moody Junior College. Due to declining enrollment and financial difficulties in the mid-1920s, Hall-Moody Junior College was in danger of closing. In 1927, the Tennessee Baptist Convention made the decision to consolidate Hall-Moody with a similar institution, Union University, in nearby Jackson.
Upon hearing of the impending closure of the Hall-Moody campus, area civic and political leaders asked the state of Tennessee to step in and take over the former Hall-Moody facilities under the auspices of the University of Tennessee. University of Tennessee president Harcourt Morgan agreed to accept the proposition on the condition that the Martin community would acquire the property as well as space for expansion. The City of Martin and Weakley County sold bonds to purchase the campus and some surrounding land. On February 10, 1927, Senate Bill Number 301 established the University of Tennessee Junior College in Martin. On March 29, it was officially approved by Governor Austin Peay. Hall-Moody closed for the last time on June 1, and the new UT Junior College began operations on September 2 with 120 students
The school nearly closed twice during its first quarter-century, first during the hard times of the Great Depression and again when nearly all male students enlisted in World War II. However, an influx of returning servicemen ushered in rapid growth both in enrollment and educational offerings. In 1951, with the addition of four-year fields of study leading to a bachelor's degree, it was redesignated the University of Tennessee Martin Branch. At the same time, its chief executive's title was changed from "executive officer" to "dean." In 1967, it was granted equal status with the main campus in Knoxville under its current name. The school grew greatly from the post-World War II era, largely under the influence of the G. I. Bill of Rights, through the 1960s under the leadership of Paul Meek, who led the school from 1934 to 1967. It was noted that the school had almost as many entering freshmen in 1969 as it had overall students in 1961. Current enrollment is approximately 8,100. In 1961, it was the first campus in the University of Tennessee system to begin racial desegregation of undergraduates. (Graduate schools at other campuses had begun desegregation in 1952.)
Given its rural location, much of the focus of the school has been on undergraduate studies in education and agriculture, although many other courses of study are offered, particularly in the liberal arts, and in recent years there has been an increasing emphasis on business, engineering, and music. There is an active ROTC program, and a school of nursing. The school is among the top providers of candidates to the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. There is a small graduate school, with most graduate degrees being conferred in education.
The campus is noted for being particularly scenic and well-landscaped. Students who live on campus are within walking distance of all academic buildings, the library, food services, the Boling University Center, and all recreational and sports facilities. Recent years have seen the demolition of old double-occupancy dormitory halls in favor of construction of apartment-style housing.
UT Martin is one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada, according to the second annual edition of The Princeton Review’s Guide to 311 Green Colleges: 2011 Edition. UT Martin is one of three public institutions in Tennessee included in the guide. UT Martin is also among the safest public college campuses in Tennessee based on crime statistics released by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
The Tennessee Martin athletic program is a member of the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) and competes in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision.
The school's teams are known as the Skyhawks; the team colors are navy blue, orange, and white; and the mascot is Captain Skyhawk.
Athletic teams have participated in the Ohio Valley Conference since 1991. Previously, UTM was a member of the Gulf South Conference.
The university mascot was changed from "Pacers" to "Skyhawks" in 1995. The reasoning behind the "Skyhawks" moniker was described thus:
Prior to being known as "Pacers" the university's teams were called "Volunteers." The name was changed in 1971, largely due to fact that, on account of the former junior college status of the school, the teams were often referred to as the "Baby Vols."
Publications and Media
Founded in 1928, The Pacer is the name of the student newspaper. The Office of Student Publications publishes The Pacer every Wednesday morning throughout the semester except for holidays and exam periods. As of 2006, the newspaper has a circulation of 3,000 copies. In the spring of 2006, the publication was won the distinction of being named "Best in the South" at the Southeastern Journalism Conference, beating out such schools as Vanderbilt and Mississippi State. Throughout its history, the newspaper has also been named The Checkerboard and The Volette.
Beanswitch is a literary magazine run by UT Martin's undergraduates. This magazine publishes non-fiction, fiction, and poetry, in addition to artwork. Each fall, an online edition is published. The spring edition is in print. Submissions are accepted from all students and from staff.'
The campus radio station at the University of Tennessee-Martin has been named the nation's Best Overall Radio Station (2012) at a college broadcasting conference. The honor — the Abraham & Borst Award — was presented to WUTM at the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System Conference in New York. WUTM was also chosen Best College/University Station under 10,000 enrollment.
WUTM-FM was named 2011 “Best College Radio Station in the South,” the third consecutive year for the station to earn the award and earned a Platinum Award, the highest ranking, for the second consecutive year from the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS).
The campus is home to many student life organizations. It also is the location of the 1965 founding of the medical fraternity, Mu Epsilon Delta.
In popular culture
A T-shirt from Tennessee-Martin is prominently featured in the 1981 music video, "Night Owls" by the Little River Band.