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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Because he comes from what Chancellor Fred Obear calls a “fast track family,” nobody at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga is surprised that Russell Linnemann II received the equivalent of three degrees simultaneously.

What may surprise others, however, is that Linnemann is only 19 years old.

Linnemann received a bachelor of science degree in chemistry with honors. In earning a bachelor of arts with majors in mathematics and economics, he did the course work required for two degrees.

He officially received them at Monday night’s commencement, even though he’s at UT-Knoxville working on a Ph.D. in chemistry.

“He certainly is a fast-tracker, but he comes from a fast-track family, so it’s not a surprise he’s done what he has. He’s a great kid, a wonderful young man,” Obear said.

“His dad teaches history (at UTC) and his mother taught in the business school. His dad also does a program on jazz music on our campus radio station.”

“The kid did a good job,” said Linnemann’s father. “He worked hard. He hasn’t decided on a career, but he’ll probably wind up in teaching.”

Young Linnemann graduated with highest honors in chemistry and as UTC’s outstanding senior in chemistry, mathematics and economics. He was a teaching and research assistant in chemistry at UTC.

His skills are not confined to math and science. In 1988 and 1989, he represented the Chattanooga area in the Scripps-Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., after winning the regional bee.

He has written an article that will appear in the Journal of Microchemistry at the end of the year, and he is a national-class chess player.

Contact: Carolyn Mitchell (423-755-4363)