On Saturday, the UT Institute of Agriculture (UTIA) will host its annual celebration of "Ag Day." Festivities will commence on the Ag Campus four hours prior to the noon kickoff against Troy's Trojans, and will last from roughly 8 to 11 a.m.
This year's theme, titled "Then and Now," aims to highlight major advancements seen within the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources (CASNR) over the years. It will also recognize the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, which enabled eligible states to establish colleges on federal lands, and subsequently paved the way for the University of Tennessee's fruition. UTK Chancellor Jimmy Cheek, Ag Institute Chancellor Larry Arrington, and UTK President Joe DiPietro will be in attendance for a special ceremony to salute this historic occasion around 10 a.m.
Street fair activities will include live music, the infamous "insect petting zoo," cornhole and free ice cream, along with giveaways and other surprises, including a visit from Smokey. Additionally, Farm Bureau Insurance's TV personality "Charlie" will be on site giving out hats and pointers on life.
Students, alumni and UT fans of all ages are encouraged to attend. Academic departments will be present with displays showcasing specific advancements and accomplishments.
"It's fun, festive and a great way to meet professors, alumni and students of all ages and interests," said Jean Hulsey of the UTIA.
Other highlights will be encompassed in tours given throughout the day. CASNR graduate students will lead tours of the new Food Science and Technology Building, while the Brehm Animal Science Building will display its new show arena. Tours of the new facilities will begin every fifteen minutes throughout the three-hour festival.
There will also be opportunities to interact directly with developers and staff of the UT Gardens, as well as UT's state-of-the-art Living Light House, which resides in the UT Gardens. Current and prospective students interested in green power and alternative energy might find this especially appealing. Recently, the energy-efficient, solar-powered house traveled over 4,000 miles to 5 different cities on a brief educational tour, with a notable stop at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington D.C. Originally built for the Solar Decathlon and entered along with over 300 team applicants worldwide, UT's Living Light House was one of 20 teams accepted. The impressive house was developed by nine distinct academic disciplines, and is truly a testament to the vast potential of UT's research departments.
Finally, the UT Gardens will be open for tours and exploration all morning. James Newburn, Assistant Director of UT Gardens, will be on site along with staff members to guide visitors and answer inquiries throughout its stunning grounds.
"There is a lot to see in the garden," Newburn said, "and morning is a great time to visit."