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Pictured from left to right are Chair of the School of Music's Board of Advisors Peter Acly, School of Music Director Roger Stephens, Jim and Natalie Haslam, Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek, Interim UT President Jan Simek and College of Arts and Sciences Dean Bruce Bursten.

KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, celebrated the breaking of ground today on the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center, a new, technology-enhanced building for the UT School of Music.

The proposed four-floor, 123,000-square-foot building is named for Natalie Haslam, a graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences and a music and arts enthusiast.

“Natalie Haslam’s love of the University of Tennessee and its cultural arts truly make her our first lady of music,” said UT Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. “As we celebrate this building, the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center, it’s a great honor that it’s named for her and what she represents.”

In 2006, Natalie and Jim Haslam, co-chairs for the Campaign for Tennessee, and the Haslam Family Foundation gave the University of Tennessee $32.5 million. The largest allotment of this money, $10 million, went to the UT School of Music, which dedicated the funds for the construction of a new facility.

“We have wonderful students, and they deserve a fine building,” Natalie Haslam said. “And having a fine building will help even [more] raise the caliber of students we have at UT.”

After several years of planning, the facility built in 1964 was demolished this summer to prepare for construction of the new building, which will be completed in late 2013. The state of Tennessee allocated $30 million for the building in 2007.

It will house a new recital hall, music library, band room and office suite, computer labs, a recording studio, 40 performance studios/offices and a variety of technology-enhanced practice and rehearsal rooms.

Natalie Haslam has served on the boards of the Knoxville Symphony Society and the Knoxville Arts Council and has been a member of the Tennessee Arts Commission and president of the Tennessee Presidents Trust. Additionally, she has been involved in community activities such as the United Way of Knoxville, the East Tennessee Foundation, the East Tennessee Historical Society, Knoxville Garden Club, the Knoxville Zoo and the Wellness Center. She is a founding member and major supporter of the Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Jim Haslam is a graduate of the College of Business Administration and founder and chairman of the board of Pilot Travel Centers LLC and chairman of the board and president of Pilot Corp. In 2009, the new business building was named the James A. Haslam II Business Building in his honor.

The Haslams have been generous UT supporters for years, having dedicated gifts to a wide variety of programs across campus.

The Haslams’s gift was part of the university’s $1 billion fundraising campaign, the Campaign for Tennessee. The most ambitious effort in the university’s history, the campaign places UT among the ranks of the nation’s largest public and private institutions that have sought this level of private support.

C O N T A C T :

Whitney Holmes (865-974-5460,

Kristi Hintz (865-974-3993,