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KNOXVILLE — University of Tennessee alumni have established a chair in the College of Architecture and Design to honor one of Knoxville’s most prominent architectural firms.

UT alumni at McCarty Holsaple McCarty have committed $100,000 to create the college’s first endowed professorship.

“We feel deep appreciation for making this first-ever professorship a reality,” said Marleen Davis, dean of the college. “This professorship will help strengthen an already preeminent faculty and thus a preeminent program, and over the next 10 years will build to provide annual funding to support a distinguished professor.”

The gift includes contributions from UT alumni at the firm and matching funds from the firm.

“As alumni, we feel strongly in giving back to the institution that educated us for our careers,” said firm vice president Jeff Johnson, speaking on behalf of the alumni. “Since the company is matching our gifts, we are able to make a more significant and lasting contribution.”

Davis said the professorship fund will supplement a state-funded faculty position and provide additional funds to support the professor with a graduate research assistant and travel funding.

“The college is one of only 16 in the nation with a combined architecture and interior design program, which we believe enhances its national reputation,” said UT Provost Lauren Crabtree. “This professorship will propel the college further into the top 25 design programs in the nation.”

McCarty Holsaple McCarty is a full-service architecture, interior design and planning firm headquartered in Knoxville. Founded in 1965, the company has garnered more than 40 national, regional and state design awards. The firm provided design services for the Knoxville Convention Center, renovation of the McGhee Tyson Airport terminal and the East End skyboxes at Neyland Stadium.