There seem to be as many reasons for attending the University of Tennessee
as there are undergraduates--that's more than 19,000 this fall.
Not even in a small poll of first-time students could a consensus be
For one student, it was UT's proximity to home. For another, it was a
question of affordability. A third enrolled because the campus matched his
dream of "going away" to college.
Brock Thomas, enrolling from Chester County High School on a prestigious
Whittle Scholarship, remembers making up his mind on a campus visit.
"A food service worker noticed a book I was reading and we ended up in a
long, serious discussion," Thomas said. "Little things like that happened
all the time. It opened my eyes to the whole campus."
Malcolm D. Earle, a graduate of Treadwell High School in Memphis, made
three visits to the campus, although he was sold on the first trip.
"I came back home after the first trip and said, 'That's where I want to
go,'" Earle recalled. A Bicentennial Scholar, Earle was influenced by the
reputation of the College of Engineering.
Earle also appreciated that the campus was away from home, "but not too
For Frances Kirkland, whose brother was a past student government president
at UT, and whose father is president-elect of the UT National Alumni
Association, the choice of UT might have seemed a foregone conclusion. It
Kirkland, another Whittle Scholar, said choosing UT meant deciding not to
go to a smaller institution where she could play sports at the collegiate
"I decided it was time to put my emphasis on academics," Kirkland said. A
Jackson resident, she is looking at pre-medical studies or
Allison Murphy's mother earned the doctoral degree at UT, but the Alcoa
High School graduate chose UT primarily because she knew the campus well
and many of her friends would be there too.
A Tennessee Scholar, Murphy plans to major in English, although she studied
math when she attended Governor's School for the Sciences on the Knoxville
campus a couple of years ago. She's also a football fan.
The advice of a faculty member at Cleveland State Community College led to
Amy Renner's decision to finish her journalism education at UT.
Renner didn't know at the time that Cleveland State alumnus Steve Holland
had followed the same path to become White House correspondent for Reuters,
the London-based news service.
"My advisor just said UT was the best place in the state to study
journalism," Renner said. The recipient of a Phi Theta Kappa scholarship,
she is a junior this fall.
Another transfer student, Pellissippi State's Robin Davis, said it was
important to stay in Knoxville, but fortunately the accounting program at
UT is one of the best in the United States.
"I want to become a certified public accountant," said Davis, who has been
awarded a Lawler Scholarship based on academic performance and financial
Katrina Russell's twin sister is a freshman this fall at the University of
Alabama, Tuscaloosa, but for her UT seemed to be a better fit.
"I liked UT's campus a lot better," said Russell, a graduate of Nashville's
Hume-Fogg High School. "When I visited in the spring, people didn't wait
for me to say I was lost. They just asked where I needed to go."
A Chancellor's Scholar and recipient of an African American Achiever's
Award, Russell plans to major in political science in preparation for law
"I went to a fairly small high school of only 500 or 600 students," Russell
said. "I wanted a change, and at a large college you can do more
Elsewhere on campus, department and open computer laboratories have been
added or updated.
"More than 1,000 new computers have been made available to students," Muly
said, "and upgrades for 24 more computing laboratories are scheduled in the
The computer and computing infrastructure gains have been made possible by
a student technology fee, which was approved for the campus by the UT Board
Students select UT for variety of reasons
Published: Wed Aug 26, 1998 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 01:36 p.m.