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Common Ground

Photo of attendees lined up at a field day

Field Day Schedule Announced

UT AgResearch will host seventeen field days and special events this year. The first to occur is the Organic Crops Field Tour. The tour will take place on April 25 at the East Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center, Organic Crops Unit. The season will end on October 18 with a Beef Heifer Development School. The Middle Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center in Lewisburg hosts that event.

Message from the Chancellor

What a year! Thanks to our faculty, staff, volunteers, and students, 2018 was full of outstanding accomplishments:

  • We celebrated 50 years as an Institute of Agriculture.
  • A transformational gift was received to create our Herbert College of Agriculture.
  • Direct contacts increased by 28 percent, reaching 4.7 million Tennesseans.
  • Extramural awards increased by almost 10 percent across all units of UTIA, totaling almost $70 million.
  • Gifts, pledges, and bequests to UTIA totaled $66 million, an increase of more than 200 percent.

Of course, now we have to scramble to keep up this good work in the year ahead. I'm confident that we'll have another very positive year and look forward to reporting on our continued progress.

On January 9, UTIA members in Middle and West Tennessee greeted interim UT President Randy Boyd in a reception in Nashville. Last month, we welcomed him at the Institute in Knoxville and gave him a tour of our campus. He is passionate about education as well as rural economies, and those passions certainly align well with ours. We also look forward to working with the new commissioner of agriculture, Charlie Hatcher. He's no stranger to the Institute, having graduated from the UT College of Veterinary Medicine and worked closely with our Institute for many years as the Tennessee state veterinarian.

Finally, it's bittersweet to express best wishes to two longtime friends, UT President Emeritus Joe DiPietro and the retiring Tennessee commissioner of agriculture, Jai Templeton. Both have been excellent supporters and champions for UTIA, and we wish them the very best in the next chapters of their lives.

Here's to another great year in 2019!

P.S. Be sure to follow me and the latest Institute developments on Twitter at @UTIAChancellor.


Gary Saylor honored as Einstein Professor • Carlos Trejo-Pech is editor of an international journal • Gary Bates serves on national panel for beef and forage sustainability

Photo of a jaguar

Learn About International Catalyst Fund

By leveraging a grant from the Faculty and Staff International Catalyst Fund from the Smith International Center, UTCVM clinical assistant professor Andrew Cushing (zoological medicine specialist) established a new rotation at the Belize Zoo for students eager to gain technical experience working with exotic species. Explore how the catalyst fund might serve your interests and those of your students.

A graphic of the words 'thank you'

A Big Orange Success

Thank you for helping make Big Orange Give 2018 a success! In twenty-four hours more than $2 million was donated to support the University of Tennessee, and colleges surpassed their giving goals. The Herbert College of Agriculture raised more than $60,000 on November 14, and the College of Veterinary Medicine, more than $30,000. Contributions to the UT Gardens surpassed $15,000. Thank you to each and every one of you who gave to support this undertaking and the tremendous impacts it will have.

A Maze with an Important Ending

A screen capture from the video, showing a student interacting with a sheriff

Tennessee high school students are learning tough, real-world lessons, but without the actual pain of loss or heartache. UT Extension and its community partners crafted a "Life Maze" in Bradley County. In the maze, teens flash forward to adulthood to learn perhaps the most critical life lesson of all—the importance of making good decisions. This video story by Charles Denney of UTIA Marketing and Communications takes you through the maze.


Common Ground is published monthly by the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. Send comments and suggestions to commonground@tennessee.edu. The University of Tennessee is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA/ADEA institution in the provision of its education and employment programs and services. All qualified applicants will receive equal consideration for employment and admission without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, veteran status, and parental status.

Real. Life. Solutions.