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KNOXVILLE — Dr. Ruth Darling has been named academic director of the University of Tennessee’s Thornton Student Life Center, university officials have announced.

Dr. Anne Mayhew, UT’s NCAA faculty athletic representative, said Darling will report to the Provost’s office and will have responsibility for all academic support services offered to student-athletes at the University of Tennessee.

The academic support staff of the Thornton Center, who have until now been employees of the Student Life Office of the Athletic Department, will report to Dr. Darling and to the Provost, Mayhew said.

The new Thornton Center will open on March 19, she said.

Darling worked as director of Student Affairs and Advising Services in the College of Arts and Sciences at UT since 1991, overseeing a centralized advising center that serves more than 6,000 undecided and pre-professional students.

“Dr. Darling has worked closely with academic departments across campus and been particularly interested in and dedicated to first-generation college students and others who are at risk of academic failure in a large University environment,” Mayhew said.

“This experience qualifies her well for her role in the Thornton Center, as does the confidence that the academic community at UT has in her devotion to academic integrity.”

Dr. Darling holds the Ed.D. and an M.S. in educational psychology from UT, and a bachelor of music degree from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J.