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KNOXVILLE, Tenn.– A gift of books in 1963 has led to the largest-ever endowment for the University of Tennessee-Knoxville libraries.

Bequests totaling approximately $2.5 million for the library have been received from the estate of John Edwin Lutz II and his wife, Heather, said Charles F. Brakebill, UT vice president for development.

A year after giving the books the family started an endowment honoring John Lutz’s father, the late Edwin R. Lutz.

“John and Heather Lutz were life-long learners before the term became popular. Their love of words, books and language will have a lasting benefit for our libraries,” UT President Joe Johnson said.

The gift is included in the $150 million committed to UT-Knoxville as part of the 21st Century Campaign. The Knoxville campus has a goal of $175 million in UT’s $308 million campaign.

“Endowments are created for perpetuity,” said Dr. Bill Snyder, UT-Knoxville chancellor. “For 32 years the Edwin R. Lutz Library Endowment has helped meet the library needs of our students and faculty. This is a wonderful way to honor the memory of one of Knoxville’s first families.”

The Lutz’s were descendants of the Armstrong and Franklin families, two of the first in Tennessee and both founding families of Knoxville. J.E. Lutz and Co., the city’s oldest locally owned insurance agency, was founded in 1896 and is currently celebrating its centennial.

Following his graduation from UT in 1940, Lutz entered the Army and rose to the rank of captain in the 110th Infantry. He was wounded in the Normandy invasion. He and Mary Elizabeth “Heather” Hetherington were married in 1944. Lutz returned to Knoxville that year and joined the family insurance firm.

Contact: Laura Simic (423-974-0037)