Organization:University of Tennessee at Martin

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Short description: Public university in Martin, Tennessee, US
The University of Tennessee at Martin
Former name
University of Tennessee Junior College (1927–1951)
University of Tennessee, Martin Branch (1951–1967)[1]
Motto"Elevate your future at UT Martin"
TypePublic university
Parent institution
UT System
Endowment$51 million (2021)[3]
ChancellorYancy E. Freeman [4]
Administrative staff
Students6,873 (Fall 2022)[5]
Undergraduates6,170 (Fall 2022)
Postgraduates703 (Fall 2022)
Martin, Tennessee
CampusRural, 250 acres (100 ha)
|u}}rsNavy blue and orange[6]
MascotCaptain Skyhawk
University of Tennessee at Martin logo.png

The University of Tennessee at Martin (UT Martin or UTM) is a public university in Martin, Tennessee. It is one of the five campuses of the University of Tennessee system. UTM is the only public university in West Tennessee outside of Memphis.

UTM operates a large experimental farm and several satellite centers in West Tennessee.


Although UT Martin dates from 1927, it is not the first educational institution to use the current site. In 1900, Ada Gardner Brooks donated a site on what was then the outskirts of Martin to the Tennessee Baptist Convention for the purposes of opening a school. The school opened as the Hall-Moody Institute, named for two locally prominent Baptist ministers - John Newton Hall [7] and Joseph Burnley Moody.[8] It originally offered 13 years of study, from elementary grades to the equivalent of the first years of collegiate work. The institute changed its name to Hall-Moody Normal School in 1917, as teacher training became its primary focus. Five years later, Hall-Moody changed its name again to Hall-Moody Junior College. Due to declining enrollment and financial difficulties in the mid-1920s, Hall-Moody Junior College was in danger of closing. In 1927, the Tennessee Baptist Convention made the decision to consolidate Hall-Moody with a similar institution, Union University, in nearby Jackson.[9]

Upon hearing of the impending closure of the Hall-Moody campus, area civic and political leaders asked the state of Tennessee to step in and take over the former Hall-Moody facilities under the auspices of the University of Tennessee. University of Tennessee president Harcourt Morgan agreed to accept the proposition on the condition that the Martin community would acquire the property as well as space for expansion. The City of Martin and Weakley County sold bonds to purchase the campus and some surrounding land. On February 10, 1927, Senate Bill Number 301 established the University of Tennessee Junior College in Martin. On March 29, it was officially approved by Governor Austin Peay. Hall-Moody closed for the last time on June 1, and the new UT Junior College began operations on September 2 with 120 students.[2]

UT Martin nearly closed twice during its first quarter-century. During the hard times of the Great Depression, with tight state budgets and slow-growing enrollment that by 1933 had only increased slightly to 137 students, Tennessee slashed its annual budget by half to $36,000. Support from UT acting president James Hoskins kept UT Martin alive but could not save chief executive Porter Claxton's position.[10]

Though enrollment had surpassed 400 students by 1937, many college-age males enlisted in World War II a few years later. Executive officer Paul Meek repurposed a 1940 program training Army Air Corps pilots into a program training naval air cadets. Each cadet brought nine times as much income to UT Martin as a civilian student.[10]

A post-war influx of returning servicemen and the G.I. Bill ushered in rapid growth both in enrollment and educational offerings. In 1951, with the addition of four-year fields of study leading to a bachelor's degree, it was redesignated the University of Tennessee Martin Branch (UTMB).

In 1961, UTMB was the first campus in the University of Tennessee system to begin racial desegregation of undergraduates. (Graduate schools at other campuses had begun desegregation in 1952.[11])

Until 1967, it was treated as an off-site department of the main campus in Knoxville. As such, its presiding officer was known first as an executive officer (1927–1951), then a dean (1951–1967). In 1967, it was granted equal status with the main campus in Knoxville under its current name, and its presiding officer was granted the title of chancellor. The school grew greatly from the post-World War II era, largely under the influence of the G. I. Bill of Rights, through the 1960s under the leadership of Paul Meek, who led the school from 1934 to 1967.[12] The school had almost as many entering freshmen in 1969 as it had overall students in 1961. Enrollment as of 2017 is listed at approximately 6,800.[13]


  1. C. Porter Claxton (executive officer, 1927–1934)
  2. Paul Meek (executive officer, 1934–1951; dean, 1951–1967, chancellor, 1967)
  3. Archie R. Dykes (chancellor, 1967–1971)
  4. Larry T. McGehee (chancellor, 1971–1979)
  5. Charles E. Smith (chancellor, 1980–1985)
  6. Margaret N. Perry (chancellor, 1986–1997)
  7. Philip W. Conn (chancellor, 1998–2000)
  8. Nick Dunagan (chancellor, 2001–2007)
  9. Thomas A. Rakes (chancellor, 2007–2015)
  10. Robert M. Smith (chancellor, 2015–2016)
  11. Keith S. Carver Jr. (chancellor, 2017–2/2023; Dr. Philip A. Cavalier, interim, March - August 2023)
  12. Yancy E. Freeman (chancellor, effective 8/9/23)


Given its rural location, much of the focus of the school has been on undergraduate studies in education and agriculture, although many other courses of study are offered, particularly in the liberal arts, and in recent years there has been an increasing emphasis on business, engineering, and music. There is an active ROTC program and a school of nursing. The school is among the top providers of candidates to the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. There is a growing graduate school, with most graduate degrees being conferred in education and business.

The university is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. For one year, from December 2015 until December 2016, the university was on probation for "falling short of standards related to evidence of institutional effectiveness and general education competencies."[14][15] During the tenure of Dr. Robert Smith, UT Martin successfully met the challenge and was removed from probation. For this and other accomplishments during his 19 months as interim chancellor, the UT Board of Trustees honored Dr. Smith by removing the designation "interim" and officially named him the university's tenth chancellor. He was also granted the honorary title "chancellor emeritus."

U.S. News & World Report in its 2024 edition ranked the university tied for #27 in Regional Universities South.[16]

Colleges and departments

  • College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences
  • College of Business and Global Affairs
  • College of Education, Health, and Behavioral Sciences
  • College of Engineering and Natural Sciences
  • College of Humanities and Fine Arts
Hall-Moody Administration Building


The rural campus is noted for being particularly scenic and well-landscaped. Students who live on campus are within walking distance of all academic buildings, the library, food services, the Boling University Center, and all recreational and sports facilities. Recent years have seen the demolition of old double-occupancy dormitory halls in favor of the construction of apartment-style housing.

UT Martin is one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada, according to the second annual edition of The Princeton Review's Guide to 311 Green Colleges: 2011 Edition. UT Martin is one of three public institutions in Tennessee included in the guide. UT Martin is also among the safest public college campuses in Tennessee based on crime statistics released by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

UT Martin also has five centers throughout West Tennessee.

  • Jackson
  • Parsons
  • Ripley
  • Selmer
  • Somerville


The UT Martin athletic program is a member of the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) and competes in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision.[17]

The school's teams are known as the Skyhawks; the team colors are navy blue, orange, and white; and the mascot is Captain Skyhawk.[18]

Athletic teams have participated in the Ohio Valley Conference since 1991. Previously, UTM was a member of the Gulf South Conference.

The university mascot was changed from "Pacers" to "Skyhawks" in 1995. The reasoning behind the "Skyhawks" moniker was described thus:[19]

  • The first educational institution on the site of UT Martin was Hall-Moody Bible Institute. The school's athletic teams were called "sky pilots", a frontier term for preachers in that day, but perhaps the students were thinking of the glamorous flying aces of World War I.
  • During World War II, UT Junior College contracted with the Naval War Training Service to help train pilots, who completed their flight training at an airport located on the current site of Westview High School.
  • Red-tail hawks are indigenous to the West Tennessee region.

Prior to being known as "Pacers", the university's teams were called "Volunteers". The name was changed in 1971, largely because, on account of the former junior college status of the school, the teams were often referred to as the "Baby Vols".

Publications and media


Founded in 1928, The Pacer is the present day name of the student newspaper. The Office of Student Publications publishes The Pacer every Thursday morning throughout the semester except for holidays and exam periods. As of 2006, the newspaper has a circulation of 3,000 copies. In the spring of 2006, the publication won the distinction of being named "Best in the South" at the Southeastern Journalism Conference, beating out such schools as Vanderbilt and Mississippi State. Throughout its history, the newspaper has also been named The Checkerboard and The Volette.

Beanswitch is a literary magazine run by UT Martin's undergraduates. This magazine publishes non-fiction, fiction, and poetry, in addition to artwork. Each fall, an online edition is published. The spring edition is in print. Submissions are accepted from all students and from staff.


The campus radio station at the University of Tennessee at Martin has been named the nation's Best Overall Radio Station (2012). The honor—the Abraham & Borst Award—was presented to WUTM at the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System Conference in New York. WUTM was also chosen Best College/University Station under 10,000 enrollment in both 2012 and 2016.

WUTM-FM was named 2015 "Best College Radio Station in the South", the fifth time in seven years for the station to earn the award and earned a Platinum Award, the highest ranking, for the sixth consecutive year from the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS).


WLJT-TV was launched in the fall of 2015.

Student life

The campus is home to many student life organizations. It also is the location of the 1965 founding of the medical fraternity Mu Epsilon Delta. The Panhellenic sororities at UTM are Alpha Delta Pi (ΑΔΠ), Alpha Omicron Pi (ΑΟΠ), Zeta Tau Alpha (ZTA), and Chi Omega (ΧΩ). The IFC fraternities on campus are Alpha Gamma Rho (ΑΓΡ), Kappa Alpha Order (KA), Phi Sigma Kappa (ΦΣΚ), Pi Kappa Alpha (ΠΚΑ), Sigma Alpha Epsilon (ΣΑΕ), Sigma Phi Epsilon (ΣΦΕ), and Sigma Chi (ΣΧ). There are two music organizations on campus: Phi Mu Alpha (ΦΜΑ) and Sigma Alpha Iota (ΣΑΙ). Religious Life is also a part of student life at UT Martin: Baptist Collegiate Ministry, Church of Christ Student Center, and Wesley Foundation.

Notable alumni

  • Gin Cooley (2016) professional model, Canadian film festival winner, singer-songwriter and human rights advocate
  • Elizabeth Donald (1997) journalist and horror novelist
  • Lin Dunn (1969) head coach of the 2012 WNBA Champions Indiana Fever
  • Doc Gamble (1995) University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff head Football coach
  • Leonard Hamilton (1971) Florida State Seminoles head basketball coach
  • Roy Herron (1975) Chairman for Tennessee Democratic Party and former State Senator
  • Andy Holt (2007) U.S. politician who serves in the Tennessee General Assembly, representing District 76
  • John Stevens (1996) Tennessee State Senator representing District 24
  • Lester Hudson (2009) Former Memphis Grizzlies point guard
  • Montori Hughes (2013) Nose tackle for the Indianapolis Colts
  • Ed Jones (1932) Commissioner of Agriculture of Tennessee 1949–1953 and a U.S. Representative from Tennessee from 1969 to 1989
  • Van Jones (1990) attorney and internationally recognized civil and human rights advocate
  • Alec Mills (2012) Chicago Cubs pitcher
  • Jerry Reese (1985) general manager of the New York Giants
  • William C. Rhodes (1987) president and CEO of AutoZone, Inc.
  • Ron Roberts (1990) Southeastern Louisiana University head football coach
  • Pat Summitt (1974) Tennessee Lady Vols head basketball coach, all-time leader for games won among NCAA Division I basketball coaches (men's or women's). The court in the basketball arena and a street on campus are named for Summitt.
  • Fred Thomas (1996) Former New Orleans Saints cornerback


  1. "History of the University of Tennessee at Martin". University of Tennessee at Martin. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "The University of Tennessee at Martin – http". 
  3. "Data USA: The University of Tennessee-Martin". Data USA. November 7, 2023. 
  4. "Chancellor's Staff | Chancellor's Corner". 
  5. "President's Report: Fall enrollment". University of Tennessee. 
  6. "UT Campus- and Institute-Specific Colors". 
  7. "J. N. Hall". 
  8. "J. B. Moody". 
  9. "History | Union University". 
  10. 10.0 10.1 Montgomery, James Riley (November 1971). "Threshold of a New Day: The University of Tennessee, 1919-1946". The University of Tennessee Record 74 (6). , pp. 98, 222-227.
  11. "UT Desegregation Timeline". Celebrating 50 Years of African-American Achievement. University of Tennessee. 
  12. Robert L. Carroll. The University of Tennessee at Martin: The First One Hundred Years. Hillsboro Press, 2000, p. 47, p. 103. ISBN:978-1577361909
  13. "Quick Facts| The University of Tennessee at Martin". 
  14. "Southern Accreditor Places UT Martin on Probation". Inside Higher Ed. December 10, 2015. 
  15. "UT Martin removed from accreditation probation status". WBBJ. December 6, 2016. 
  16. "University of Tennessee--Martin". U.S. News & World Report, L.P.. 
  17. "National Collegiate Athletic Association". 
  18. "UTM Sports". UTM Sports. 
  19. "UTM Sports". 

External links

[ ⚑ ] 36°20′30″N 88°52′02″W / 36.341754°N 88.867097°W / 36.341754; -88.867097