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UT Pleased with Governor’s Support, President Tells Trustees

February 29, 2012

MEMPHIS – The University of Tennessee and higher education in Tennessee will benefit from the budget proposed by Gov. Bill Haslam last month, UT President Joe DiPietro told the board of trustees on Wednesday.

"We're very pleased with the budget," DiPietro said. "It's powerful to have a governor who helps us and we appreciate that very much."

The governor proposed $264 million for capital outlay projects in higher education, including $94 million for UT Knoxville Strong Hall science lab, $24.1 million for UT Health Science Center patient diagnostic center and $6 million in planning for proposed buildings at UT Chattanooga and UT Knoxville. Recommendations for capital maintenance included $32 million for 12 UT maintenance projects. The budget also included a proposal for a 2.5 percent salary increase for all state employees, including UT employees.

"I think what you have from us is the commitment to keep the path going we're on in funding higher ed in Tennessee," Haslam said. "We want to keep that focus there."

The budget now goes before the General Assembly for debate. The University's overall budget will be finalized at the board's meeting in June.

The governor also asked the University to continue to educate students and provide an outstanding workforce. He said in talking to companies in Tennessee and those looking to locate in the state the one criticism they offer is a lack of workers in the science and engineering fields.

"That is part of the bigger mission of what you all are doing for us in what is still limited budget times. …(To) increase the depth and breadth of talent, that I think will help us compete with anybody," he said.

While tuition for next fall will not be determined until June, DiPietro said tuition at UT's campuses remains affordable despite the fact that the percentage of state appropriations per student full-time equivalent (FTE) has decreased from 52 percent to 32 percent in the last 10 years.

"Tuition increases have not kept pace with enrollment growth, inflation, and state funding reductions," he said. "Inflation has eroded the buying power of all funding sources in the decade."

The trustees received a report from Johnnie Ray, UT Foundation president, on the results of the Campaign for Tennessee, the most ambitious fundraising effort in the 216-year history of the University. The campaign ended Dec. 31, 2011, with more than $1.3 billion committed. The campaign's success places UT among an elite group of only 28 public universities that have successfully completed fundraising campaigns of at least $1 billion, according to the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.

Typical of public university fundraising, most donors designate the use of their gifts. About 98 percent of all Campaign for Tennessee gifts is allocated for a specific scholarship, professorship, program or other objective of the donor's choosing. These gifts cannot be used to offset the University's operating costs.

Thirty-four percent of the campaign total consists of deferred gifts that include bequests, charitable trusts and gift annuities which, by their nature, will not be realized for many years. Another third of the total consists of pledges to be paid over a period of years. The remainder is made up of gifts already received.

The Campaign for Tennessee's positive impact already is visible in the changing skyline of each campus. Private gifts provided significant funding for the following:

  • Min Kao Electrical Engineering and Computer Science building, UT Knoxville
  • Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, UT Knoxville
  • Brenda Lawson Student-Athlete Success Center, UT Chattanooga
  • Renovation of the Dunn Dental Building, UT Health Science Center
  • John and Ann Tickle Small Animal Hospital, UT Institute of Agriculture
  • UT Martin Parsons Center in Decatur County
  • John Tickle Engineering Building, UT Knoxville
  • James A. Haslam II Business Building, UT Knoxville
  • Natalie L. Haslam Music Center, UT Knoxville
  • Dr. William M. Bass Anthropology Center

In addition, the Sherri Parker Lee Softball Stadium, Regal Soccer Complex and Pratt Pavilion basketball practice facility in Knoxville were funded entirely by private dollars.

The Academic Affairs and Student Success Committee received a large amount of data that included diversity rates among students, faculty and staff; the percentage of Tennessee high school graduates enrolling at UT and other institutions of higher education; and the college-going rate by county.

In other business, the board approved:

  • Bylaw amendments to create a Health Affairs Committee
  • Revised FY 2012 operating budget
  • An increase to the University's contribution to the UT Research Foundation FY 2013 budget by $1.3 million for support of research and economic development opportunities arising out of the UT Biofuels Initiative
  • An agreement between UT and UT Research Foundation for development management services of Cherokee Farm and a master ground lease between UT and UT Research
  • Foundation for Cherokee Farm with the requirement that the UT president provide periodic reports updating the board on progress
  • Designation of UT Methodist Physicians, LLC, as a faculty practice plan for the College of Medicine in Memphis
  • Revision of UT Martin traffic and parking regulations to allow for a $200 fine for possessing, using, reproducing or altering a University registration decal in violation of state or local law
  • Designate $1.5 million in proceeds from the lease and transfer agreement with University Health Services for UT Health Science Center programs
  • Capital projects outside the budget process
  • Real property transactions, including a property exchange of about 58 acres of vacant land in Oak Ridge from the UT Institute of Agriculture for about 83 acres of a quarry in Sweetwater
  • Naming a wing of a building on the Institute of Agriculture campus
  • Grant of tenure under expedited procedures
  • Governing board certification for Ohio Valley Conference for UT Martin

The meeting was webcast live and archived for later viewing. For a link to the archived webcast, go to www.tennessee.edu/.

Board materials are archived at http://bot.tennessee.edu/resources/materials_02292012.html.

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Contacts:
Gina Stafford, (865) 974-0741, stafford@tennessee.edu
Elizabeth Davis, (865) 974-5179, elizabeth.davis@tennessee.edu