An anonymous donor stepped in to pay for Friday's inauguration of UT

President Wade Gilley after questions were raised about the cost of the

ceremony, said Sammie Lynn Puett, chairwoman of the University of Tennessee

Inaugural Steering Committee.

The donor was one of four to make the offer after "uninformed individuals"

raised questions about the cost, Puett said.

Questions were raised Wednesday about the need for an inauguration in the

middle of a budget crunch and hiring freeze. Puett defended the ceremony,

which will be held Friday at 1 p.m. in Thompson-Boling Assembly


"The inaugural, or installation of a president is, in reality, an academic

celebration, which not only sends signals to other major universities

across the nation but also is a tremendous educational experience for the

entire campus," Puett said.

Local media reported Wednesday the inauguration would cost $35,000, but

Puett said that amount was much less because the Board of Trustees would

not be charged for use of UT facilities and services.

Puett pointed out three distinguished academics were visiting campus at no

cost to UT to participate in "major education exercises and the actual

installation ceremony itself," when most academics only visit after being

paid substantial fees.

The honorees include James Buchanan, Tennessee's only native son Nobel

laureate; Frank Matthews, CEO of Cox Matthews Publishers, Inc. and Carolyn

Karr, professor of history at Marshall University.

Buchanan will address the university on Friday morning in the University

Center and take part in convocation speeches at the ceremony. It is the

first time he will visit Knoxville since winning a Nobel Prize in 1986.

Matthews will meet with African-American students, faculty and staff and

will be part of the convocation on Friday. Karr will present a seminar for

faculty and others today on her Internet course of World History and will

speak at the academic convocation on Friday.

"An inauguration is a major event in the life of a university," Puett said.

"It will provide an extraordinary academic experience for UT students,

faculty and the community."