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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A rising national reputation and “the best freshman class in our history” made 1995 an outstanding academic year for the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Vice Chancellor John Peters said Friday.

The 1994-95 freshman class had the highest 23.4 ACT score, grade-point average and percentage of students in the top 10 percent of the class, Peters said.

“The ACT increase from 22.9 in 1994 to 23.4 this fall was a remarkable increase,” Peters said.

“It’s due to our rising national reputation as a good buy in value, relative to the quality and costs of an education, and to our new Bicentennial Scholarship program.”

Peters said the increase in scholarships enabled UTK to accelerate its recruitment of outstanding students.

“We had a 20 percent increase in the freshman class and a tremendous increase in the number of applications,” he said. “In other words, we’re becoming more selective relative to the number of students we can admit.”

Among the 1995 highlights, Peters said, were:

* Jennifer Santoro winning a Rhodes Scholarship.

* The Masters of Business Administration team winning the African-American case study awards, beating such schools as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

* Dr. Gerald Mahan, a physics professor, being elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

In 1996, Peters said, UTK will review its undergraduate curriculum “to make sure everything in that curriculum helps produce an educated citizen for the new age.”

And, he said, the university will continue its accelerated recruitment of outstanding high school students.

In addition to UTK’s freshman ACT scores rising sharply in 1995, the ACT scores at UT-Martin and UT-Chattanooga also were up.

Contact: John Peters (423-974-3265)