Top 13 of 2013: Most Popular Tennessee Today Stories
Big Orange Country had a big year in 2013. Our faculty made ground-breaking discoveries and our students earned international recognition. Our campus saw new buildings open and the announcement of more improvements to come. Take a look at the most popular Tennessee Today stories, based upon the number of people who viewed them. Get ready for 2014, which is sure to be another big year on Rocky Top.
Rare new details about an ancient Roman fort in southern Jordan were uncovered in June by two UT professors. Robert Darby, a lecturer in art history in the School of Art, and Erin Darby, an assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies, direct the ‘Ayn Gharandal archaeological project that uncovered details about the fort, including the previously unknown location of an ancient infantry unit.
More than 4,300 freshmen—the biggest class in nearly a decade, with the most honors students ever—began their UT careers in August. This year’s freshmen are an academically accomplished group, with average ACT scores and high school GPAs putting them among the top 10 percent of high school graduates statewide.
The campus announced an aggressive student housing redevelopment plan in December that will transform the student experience and accommodate the growth in student learning communities. The plan involves replacing six residence halls around Presidential Court with seven new modern facilities in five years.
As Valentine’s Day approached, UT experts offered tips to ensure relationships stayed healthy through the holiday. Kristina Gordon, professor of psychology and director of RelationshipRx, a project seeking to make it easier for couples to take good care of their relationship health, says there are some easy steps people can take to build more intimacy and strengthen their relationships.
Alumnus Mark Dean, co-inventor of the personal computer, joined the College of Engineering faculty in the fall. Dean arrived on campus from IBM, where he most recently served as chief technology officer for IBM Middle East and Africa, based in Dubai. Dean, a 1979 engineering alumnus, is responsible for developing technology that allows us to plug anything into computers and have the devices and PCs communicate seamlessly.
The new Natalie L. Haslam Music Center opened in August and is a physical expression of the musical art form. Acoustical wall panels and retractable curtains allow the recital hall and rehearsal rooms to be tuned to reverberate or absorb sound to meet the needs of various performances. Performance studios and academic offices are soundproof. Even the building’s very façade is musical.
In June a UT report pinpointed ten game-changing supply chain trends that can help companies improve their operations. The university’s Global Supply Chain Institute identified and tracked the trends through surveying 163 supply chain professionals from 132 global companies.
Move-in day is always one of the busiest, most exciting days of the year. This year’s move-in day began at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 17. Students were prepped with what to bring, what to leave at home, and all the traffic and parking information they would need.
Members of the Class of 2017 arrived on campus in August and immediately began taking part in UT traditions and getting to know the campus through Welcome Week activities. Throughout the first week, the 2013 Welcome Leaders—a team of 175 upperclass student leaders—welcome, guided, and mentored the new Volunteers.
In November, Lindsay Lee, a senior studying math and Spanish, was named a Rhodes Scholar, the most prestigious international award a student can earn. Lee, of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is the seventh UT student to receive the honor in the Rhodes program’s 111-year history.
Jack Dongarra, distinguished professor of computer science, is changing the way the power of supercomputers is measured. Since 1993, Dongarra has led the ranking of the world’s top 500 supercomputers. The much-celebrated bi-annual TOP500 list is compiled using Dongarra’s benchmark system, called Linpack. But Dongarra says Linpack hasn’t kept pace with supercomputing needs and must be updated.
As the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens battled it out on the field during the NFL’s Super Bowl XLVII in February, a team of UT students were behind the scenes preparing special events and working VIP hospitality suites. TEAM UT, which included fifteen undergraduate and graduate students and three faculty members, worked directly with M Group Scenic Studios, the Super Bowl event planner, at the February 3 game.
From science stars to baseball starters, the university’s latest TV commercial debuted in September and highlighted the talent and opportunities that abound on Rocky Top. Featured in the commercial are Harry “Hap” McSween, Distinguished Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, and R.A. Dickey, former Vol baseball player and current pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays.