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CHATTANOOGA — University of Tennessee trustees voted Wednesday to increase the College of Pharmacy’s class size to meet the growing need for pharmacists in the state.

The trustees, meeting at the UT-Chattanooga campus, approved a plan to boost the incoming freshman class from 125 to 175 this fall, and to 200 in 2006.

“Expanding the class size in Memphis, the satellite pharmacy facility in Knoxville, and clinical education centers around the state will help us address the need for trained pharmacists in a cost-effective way,” UT President John Petersen said.

No additional state funding will be required for the expansion, he said.

Trustees voted to award the university’s first honorary degree to former U.S. Senator Howard Baker, a UT law graduate. Baker will be given an honorary doctorate of humane letters at the spring commencement ceremony May 7, where he is also the scheduled speaker.

The board approved two senior-level hirings. Dr. William F. Owen Jr. was made vice president for health affairs and chancellor of the UT Health Science Center in Memphis, and Hank Dye was named vice president for public and governmental relations.

“We are so pleased that Bill Owen and Hank Dye are joining us,” Petersen said. “They are dynamic individuals who will make many great contributions to the university.”

In other action, the board voted to name the new women’s soccer stadium on the Knoxville campus after the Regal Corporation, which has funded a significant portion of the construction cost.

Trustees also voted to name UT-Knoxville’s track facilities the LaPorte Track and Field Stadium, following generous donations for the construction by the LaPorte family.

Tom Black Track will retain its name.