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KNOXVILLE –- Four alumni of the University of Tennessee College of Engineering (COE) who founded CTI Molecular Imaging have announced a $1 million gift to the college. The gift will be used to fund a new CTI Chair in the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE).

Michael Crabtree, the president, CEO and chairman of IdleAire Technologies Corporation, announced the gift at the UT College of Engineering’s annual Honors Banquet.

Crabtree, who received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UT, joined fellow alumni and CTI founding partners Ronald Nutt, Kelly Milam and Terry Douglass in providing the funding for the new chair.

Attending the Honors Banquet to accept the Nathan W. Dougherty Award, the college’s most prestigious recognition, Crabtree said that the chair was established to attract, retain and recruit world-class professors to the ECE Department.

“CTI’s name has stood strong in the Knoxville community and the PET (positron emission tomography) medical diagnostic imaging industry from 1983 until 2005,” Crabtree said. “It is our hope that this CTI Chair, together with Dr. Min Kao’s $17.5 million gift to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, are cornerstones paving the way for a new standard of excellence for the University of Tennessee’s College of Engineering.”

CTI, which was founded by the four men in 1983, merged with Siemens Medical Solutions in 2005 to form Siemens Medical Solutions Molecular Imaging (SMSMI). SMSMI and the College of Engineering recently announced a new $4 million Scintillation Materials Research Center, which is housed on UT’s campus.

This marks the second time that the college received a $1 million gift at the annual banquet. At the 2004 event, Nutt made a $1 million challenge gift to the COE.

The COE Honors Banquet, sponsored by Eastman Chemical Company, is held annually to recognize outstanding faculty, staff and students.