Larry Arrington

Thanks to everyone who participated in the UTIA Faculty and Staff Appreciation Lunch on October 3. We served approximately 650 meals, so attendance was very good. It was great to have a time for everyone to visit. I want to especially thank the planning committee for their hard work. Committee members were Mike Buschermohle, Angie Berry, Donna Eason-Pile, Carrera Romanini, Linda Carey, Dwight Loveday, Jeanie Snider, and Trish Wagoner. And a big thanks to the Tennessee Pork Producers Association for donating and cooking the chops, which were very well received.

Ag Day was also a tremendous success. Even with the early game time, participation was very high. Congratulations to Jamey Tosh on receiving the UTIA Horizon Award for 2014, and congratulations to Dr. Charlie Goan on receiving this year’s UTIA Meritorious Service Award. This link provides information about each honor. Thanks to the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries and the Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center for setting up the special displays for Ag Day. We were pleased to celebrate their fiftieth anniversary. Special thanks to the Ag Day planning committee on a job well done. Serving on this committee were Matt Devereaux, Donna Eason-Pile, Steve Glafenhein, Joe Cagle, Robin Haefs, Sandra Harbison, Willie Hart, Jean Hulsey, Dwight Loveday, Craig Pickett, Jessy Shanks, and Bobby Simpson.

The first annual UT President’s Council Awards Dinner was held on October 10. Former UT President Joe Johnson was recognized with the Lifetime Service Award. Donnie and Terry Smith, who established the Smith Endowed Chair in International Sustainable Agriculture, received the 2014 Philanthropist of the Year Award.

The President’s Council was formed during the past year and is a constituency of alumni and friends who understand and support higher education broadly in Tennessee. It is composed of volunteer leaders who have the opportunity to serve as the University’s premier advocates. Similar to our UTIA Regional Advisory Councils, the President’s Council provides important counsel and guidance to help advance the System’s mission.

Speaking of our UTIA Regional Advisory Councils, we will hold another round of meetings with these three groups in December. At their request, the December meetings will focus on water issues in Tennessee. We will be sharing about water-related programs in UTIA, as well as having a dialogue about current and future issues related to water resources in Tennessee.

In the near future, we will be interviewing candidates for the Smith Chair position. I encourage you to participate in the seminars and provide feedback.

Go Vols,

At a recent reception, CASNR students enrolled in construction science gathered for a group photo.

Construction Science—A Successful Industry and CASNR Partnership

By Caula Beyl, dean, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

On September 30, 2014, a group of committed construction industry leaders and supporters joined with faculty, students, and administrators from the Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science and UTIA for the inaugural Construction Science Advocacy Reception. Several years ago, this event and the development of construction science as a career choice for CASNR students was just a dream, but Eric Drumm, department head for BESS, had faith that it could happen and worked tirelessly with Tom Looney, director of Advancement, to bring this dream to fruition.

In fall 2010, the construction science concentration admitted its first students. Faculty support for the offering in the department and the successful recruitment of its dynamic director, Charlie Parker, has been critical to its growth and recognition. Parker spent more than twenty years building the construction engineering technology program at East Tennessee State University and came to UT with a proven record of program building and a broad network of close relationships with industry professionals and leaders across the Southeast.

The inaugural Construction Science Advocacy Reception was a celebration of the energy that could be brought to a program by engaged industry members passionate about growing a program at UT and the infectious excitement of a director with a vision—to have the first construction science program in the state of Tennessee accredited by the American Council for Construction Education, a worthy goal.

The program receives support and guidance from its advocacy board, whose membership consists of leaders in the construction industry not only from Knoxville, but also from across the state. This strong partnership offers opportunities for students to learn their chosen profession firsthand through internships and experience.

Supporters of the program have developed an endowment, and the donor responsible for the initial endowment gift requested that it be named the Eric Drumm Construction Science Enhancement Endowment in honor of the man who first envisioned the program here in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Since the program’s inception, nearly $300,000 has been raised from industry leaders to benefit the program.

A particularly rewarding part of the reception was seeing the construction science students interacting with industry leaders. Students dressed professionally and had been coached about the importance of making eye contact, shaking hands, and engaging in actual conversation. I did not see a cell phone in a student’s hand or texting anywhere in the room. I suspect that the expectation for the students to display professionalism was clearly articulated ahead of time as one of the students remarked to me that he “did not want to disappoint Mr. Parker”! Other students shared the tremendous impact that Charlie has had on them in so many ways. One said that he cannot enter a building now without critiquing how it has been built. Another said that he finds himself imagining how he would have designed and built buildings differently after Charlie’s influence. One thing that is certain—Mr. Parker has built something very exciting and has forever changed the way his students perceive the world around them.


Construction Science Program Director Charlie Parker, standing, with students.