KNOXVILLE—The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, dedicated the new William M. Bass Forensic Anthropology Building today in a ceremony that celebrated the achievements of the world-renowned forensic anthropologist.
The new building, on the nearby campus of the UT Medical Center, will enhance research programs and provide classroom facilities for UT students and the many law enforcement, fire, and medical professionals who train at the adjacent Anthropological Research Facility.
The 5,000-square-foot, approximately $1.4 million building is privately funded, most notably from Bass, his family, and Jimmy and Dee Haslam, Knoxville residents and longtime UT supporters. Fiction writer Lisa Gardner, of New Hampshire, also donated to the project, and an office is named for her.
Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek thanked Bass, a UT distinguished professor emeritus and best-selling author, for the initial gift made five years ago by him and his family.
The Haslam gift, made in honor of Bass, helped to make the building a reality.
“We are proud to add a building that bears Dr. Bass’s name,” Cheek said. “For more than forty years, Bill’s work has been at the forefront of advancing forensic anthropology as a science and academic discipline. He’s helped to revolutionize medical identification and the ability to investigate and prosecute criminal cases,” Cheek said.
Bass came to UT in 1971.He established the Anthropological Research Facility in 1981 and growth in the program led to the UT Forensic Anthropology Center. In 1995, Bass and his family established the William M. Bass Endowment to support student and faculty research in anthropology.
UT has trained more than a quarter of the nation’s board-certified forensic anthropologists, who serve in key roles in government, museums, and private sector jobs. The William M. Bass Donated Skeletal Collection is the largest modern bone collection in America, and is used by anthropologists from around the world. The collection helped produce an interactive forensic discrimination database, now commonly used in this country and abroad.
Along with time-of-death research, the center has led the testing of ground-penetrating radar technology that gives anthropologists and disaster recovery workers accurate information on buried human remains. UT has contributed to knowledge of fire impact on humans, and has established the standard on cremation weights, both of which have proved critical to successful police and arson investigations.
Bass’s donation of his papers provides a significant enhancement to UT Libraries’ Special Collections, a set of rare and unique materials that supports the scholarly needs of the UT community. The library provides broad access to local collections for scholars in regional, national, and international communities, as well as the general public.
Today’s event helps to celebrate UT’s Campaign for Tennessee, which has already succeeded its $1 billion system-wide goal. The Knoxville campus has raised more than $760 million, which is being used to support scholarships, faculty chairs, facilities, and enhancement of academic programs, among other areas.
Karen Simsen (865-974-5186, firstname.lastname@example.org)