Web version

Like Tweet

Third Thursday

A Message From Chancellor Larry Arrington


As we reflect on the past year, there is no time more fitting than now to express our gratitude. Thank you for all you do to advance UTIA and for being a member of our team. Wherever your holiday celebration takes you, we wish you a safe, relaxing time spent with family and friends.

Candy and I wish you happy holidays from our family to yours,


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

Former Institute Member Pledges $1 Million to Tennessee 4-H

Although the impact of programs such as Tennessee 4-H and UT Extension cannot be measured by dollars or numbers, to Ruth Henderson McQueen $1 million comes close.

The gift commitment to the UT Foundation will benefit the proposed 4-H camp and conference center in West Tennessee, as well as support volunteer development in 4-H. The proposed site, which would house 4-H camps and events, host conferences, and be a UT Extension volunteer training facility, is located at Lone Oaks Farm in Hardeman County. More ...

External Funding for July through October Totals $16.5 Million

Sponsored projects and Extension county billings for July through October 2014 total $16,542,011. Congratulations to the principal and coprincipal investigators, and Extension county directors and agents! Read the report.

External funding is vital to our overall program, and we appreciate the support and efforts of everyone engaged in enhancing our external funding.

On Turning Sixty, NSF Highlights Sixty Steller Research Projects

And the multistate research of Lyme disease transmission and spread that UTIA is contributing is listed as thirty-three. The southeastern U.S. component of the Lyme study is led by associate professor Graham Hickling of the Center for Wildlife Health. The Center is a unit of the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries. Read about the NSF “Sensational Sixty” projects and learn more about our research of Lyme disease.

Institute’s New Dairy Judging Team Places Second in Nation


A team of senior food science and technology majors has placed second in the ninety-third annual National Dairy Products Evaluation Contest held at Northwestern Illinois University. The UT Dairy Products Evaluation Team finished two points away from first, and in individual competition, Stephanie Brooks and Molly Hammel finished first and second overall. Thomas Frederick placed first in the yogurt-judging category. Read more about their preparation and win.

Help Rename Third Thursday—Enter Your Idea Now!

We are seeking a more meaningful name for this newsletter—one that truly reflects who the Institute is and what we do. Plus, many people don’t realize that Third Thursday is Chancellor Arrington’s newsletter to the Institute family and friends. What would be a good name to more clearly convey that fact and to represent the Institute as a whole? Please share your ideas! 



Enter your ideas in the survey form linked below. Even if you don’t have suggestions of a name, we encourage you to use the form to let us know about content that you would like to see included in future issues. The survey will continue through December 31. So put your thinking cap on, and let’s see what we can come up with! Visit the survey page here.

UT AgResearch Honors Four for Exceptional Contributions

Each year, directors of AgResearch and Education Centers across the state honor the best of the best: support workers who, through their exceptional job performance, are judged central to the research missions at their centers. Join us in congratulating West Tennessee Agricultural Museum guide Judy Grimes of the Milan Center, Sam Norment of the West Tennessee Center, and service supervisor Bill Lively and senior herd caretaker Patrick Ray of the East Tennessee Center. Click their names to learn how they advance the Institute.

CASNR Students Tackle Sustainability of Global Food Supply

Master’s students Shawn Butler and Austin Scott have ideas for innovative technologies to improve the sustainability of global food systems. Their first product, the Flex Roller Crimper, is a new agricultural tool that will enable cover crops to be incorporated into no-till and other crop production systems. Butler, an MS student in plant pathology, and Scott, an MS student in plant sciences, hold a provisional patent on the technology.

The merit of their idea won $5,000 in startup funding from the UT Boyd Venture Challenge, a pitch competition to advance student ideas for new entrepreneurial businesses. The duo intends to use the award money to develop a working prototype of the crimper for field-testing.

The Boyd Venture Challenge was created with funds from Randy Boyd, president and CEO of Radio Systems Corp. Since its inception in 2011, twenty student-owned companies have been awarded a total of $142,000 in seed capital. Learn about the Boyd Venture Challenge.

Former Intern Establishes 4-H Endowment in Memory of Lorna Norwood


A new endowed scholarship has been established to award funds to the junior grade state winner(s) of the 4-H Public Speaking Contest. The endowment, The Lorna Hatcher Norwood Memorial Communications Scholarship, is in memory of the late director of Marketing and Communications for the Institute of Agriculture, who passed away December 4, 2012.

The donor, a former intern with the Marketing and Communications office, established the endowment in honor of Norwood’s commitment to mentoring young people. Norwood served as a judge for the public speaking contest and was a champion of the 4-H program. “The scholarship aims to celebrate the achievements of these 4-H’ers in the same spirit that Lorna celebrated the achievements of those she mentored,” says Ryan Hensley, executive director of the Tennessee 4-H Foundation.

The endowment is open and accepting additional donations. To contribute, make checks payable to the UT Foundation, Inc., and send to 107 Morgan Hall, 2621 Morgan Circle, Knoxville, TN 37996-4502, Attn: Tom Looney, with the scholarship name in the memo. To make your gift online, visit UTIA Institutional Advancement’s website, AdvanceUTIA.com and enter the scholarship name in the “other” field.

Veterinary College Offers Stress Lowering Class for Humans

Dr. Elizabeth Strand, director of Veterinary Social Work, a program of the College of Veterinary Medicine, will teach a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course in January and February.

The eight-week course teaches mindfulness practice techniques that help alleviate daily stress, chronic pain, anxiety, high blood pressure, depression, and other conditions worsened by stress. Multiple research studies have found that MBSR-techniques are effective in assisting people in managing stress and improving their health.

Memorial Toy Drive Continues through Monday

The Ryan McDonald and Colt Jones Memorial Toy Drive continues through Monday on the Institute campus in Knoxville and at the East Tennessee AgResearch Center. The drive is a benefit for the Helen Ross McNabb Center and has a personal tie to UT. Ryan’s uncle (that's Ryan pictured) is a university employee who started the toy drive in Ryan’s memory. Each year he comes to our campus and collects the donated toys. To take part, bring an unwrapped toy for a child of any age and place it in a collection barrel. For more information, contact Carrera Romanini.

Learn More about Animal-Assisted Therapy in February

A free informational meeting for people interested in learning more about volunteering with Human-Animal Bond in Tennessee (HABIT) is planned for February in Knoxville. HABIT is an animal-assisted therapy program created and led by the College of Veterinary Medicine. The meeting will be held in room A118 of the College on Saturday, February 28. Meeting time to be announced closer to the date.

HABIT is a nonprofit group of volunteers working together to promote the bond between people and animals. HABIT sponsors animal-assisted therapy programs for all ages in a variety of settings such as nursing and retirement homes, assisted living centers, hospitals, physical rehabilitation centers, and area schools.

In November, the program received a $1,000 donation from a community partnership between Knoxville WUOT Public Radio and Dr. Mili Bass, owner of Dream Katcher Lodge. The lodge is a pet boarding facility in Farragut, and Bass is a CVM graduate. The donation was made when a goal of 350 pledges was met during WUOT’s Pet Pledge Day. HABIT program director Karen Armsey says the funds will provide tablets that will enable the program’s informational meetings to be more mobile and assist evaluators as they assess potential animal volunteers.

Know a Dog with a Liver Problem? CVM Professor Has a Resource for You

A CVM professor of small animal soft tissue surgery has published more than 100 scientific articles and book chapters. She has also authored and edited several texts, but now Dr. Karen Tobias, has written a brochure for the public. “Help! My Dog was Diagnosed with a Liver Problem!” is available online. Tobias is known nationally and internationally for her work on portosystemic shunts in dogs. More ....

Snowy Morgan Hall

Lisa Stearns, vice chancellor of marketing and communications, captured this image of Morgan Hall on a winter day. Be sure to take your own photos of campus and work scenes, both indoors and out, this year. We encourage you to enter them in the Institute’s photo competition. The popular annual contest returns in January and is sponsored by our chapter of the international honor society of agriculture, Gamma Sigma Delta. The contest aims to provide Institute members with high quality images for websites, presentations, and other uses. Watch for an announcement soon.


Third Thursday is published monthly by the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. Send comments and suggestions to Margot Emery. 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 without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, or covered veteran status.

ag.tennessee.edu