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KNOXVILLE — From jazz and earthquakes to neutrons and Chinese politics, the University of Tennessee’s 2005 Pre-Game Faculty Showcase is sure to “edu-gate” football fans in Big Orange style.

For 15 years, the series has offered fans the opportunity to relax and learn about a variety of topics before every home football game.

Each year, the number of attendees has grown, drawing an average of about 200 for each presentation. The 45-minute sessions highlight UT College of Arts and Sciences championship scholars in a setting designed for lively interchange with the audience. All sessions are always held two hours before kickoff.

This year, UT officials hope that Pre-Game events will attract a record attendance.

“Football games attract a larger and more diverse audience to campus than any other single activity, so the Showcase is a chance for the public who visit UT only on game day to learn more about the good things that happen here every day,” said Chancellor Loren Crabtree.

As director of the Office of Academic Outreach and a member of the dean’s staff in the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Lynn Champion created the Pre-Game Faculty Showcase in 1990.

“Arts and Sciences is the largest and most comprehensive college in the university,” Champion said. “In shaping the agenda each year, I include faculty representatives that reflect the breadth of the college with speakers from the natural sciences, the social sciences, the humanities and fine and performing arts. Faculty speakers will often involve their students in presentations — audiences especially enjoy that,” she said.

The speakers are good at making complex topics understandable to the layperson, said Champion.

It’s not uncommon to see a fan wearing “Kentucky blue” or “Alabama crimson” sitting in a sea of orange at the Showcase – visitors from opposing schools participate in Showcase every year. UT Men’s Athletics and UT’s National Alumni Association provide support for the series.

This year’s schedule is as follows:

    Don Hough
  • Sept. 3 – Trombonist Don Hough with “Jazz and How It Works.” Hough, associate professor of music, studied with jazz great Slide Hampton. He’s a UT grad and founder of the UT Trombonery, which will perform with him during the Showcase. His University Studio Orchestra has performed with jazz greats Jerry Coker, Donald Brown, Sir Roland Hanna and Joe Williams. (Room 213, Ballroom, UC)
    Joe Champelli
  • Oct. 1 – Entertainment technologist and theatre professor Joe Champelli will present “Flying Spiderman and Tinkerbell: Applying Theatrical Special Effects to the Movie Industry.” Champelli, assistant professor of theatre, heads the Entertainment Technology program. He has produced more than 100 technical projects for Walt Disney, Cirque du Soleil, Blue Man Group and others. (Room 213, Ballroom, UC).
    Ted Labotka
  • Oct. 8 – “Geology in Tennessee: Is There Any Earthquake Hazard on Rocky Top?” by Ted Labotka, professor of earth and planetary sciences. He is a researcher for the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy and NASA. (Room 213, Ballroom, UC)

    Yang Zhong
  • Oct. 29 – Yang Zhong will lead “The Emergence of a New Global Power: China.” Zhong, professor of political science, specializes in political change in Russia and Eastern Europe, political culture and local government in China as well as China’s relations with Taiwan and the U.S. (Room 223 this week only).
    John Larese
  • Nov. 12 – Homecoming – “The Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge: The World’s Foremost Center for Neutron Science Is Now in Tennessee,” John Larese, a chemistry professor, holds a joint appointment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and UT. He’s won numerous U.S. Department of Energy awards for Sustained Outstanding Research and Outstanding Scientific Accomplishment. (Room 213, Ballroom UC)

    John Rehder
  • Nov. 19 – John Rehder’s “Appalachian Folkways” will wrap up the season. Rehder, a geography professor, won the Fred Kniffen Award from the Pioneer American Society in 2004 for his latest book on Appalachian geographical features, settlement patterns and folk culture. (Room 213, Ballroom UC)

The University Center is located at 1502 West Cumberland Ave. Room 213 (the Ballroom) is on the second floor. For directions, visit

For more information about the Pre-Game Showcase, visit

Lynn Champion (865-974-4676)
Karen Collins (865-974-5186)