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Pregame Showcase graphicUniversity of Tennessee, Knoxville, home football games draw tens of thousands of fans to campus each week. The College of Arts and Sciences Pregame Showcase offers those fans a unique experience to learn from some of UT’s most exceptional faculty members.

Featuring a thirty-minute presentation followed by a fifteen-minute question-and-answer session, each showcase is free and open to the public and held two hours before home game kickoffs in the Carolyn P. Brown Memorial University Center Room 213. Light refreshments are provided, and guests have a chance to win door prizes. Guests who complete a registration form receive a 10 percent discount coupon for game day purchases from the UT Bookstore.

Launching its 22nd season, the Pregame Showcase will feature programs ranging from musical performance, to cave churches in medieval Spain, to abstract painting, to bioorganic chemistry. The speakers are chosen to highlight a wide range of topics that reflect the breadth and diversity of the College of Arts and Sciences, but also appeal to a wide audience.

“Football games attract a large and diverse group of UT fans to our campus,” said Hap McSween, interim dean of the college. “They’re here to cheer on the Vols, but everyone enjoys learning something new. Each week is an opportunity to have a mini-course on a particular topic or area of expertise.”

These showcases give fans a chance to stretch their minds and have a full game day experience of educational and recreational engagement. The programs offer fans a chance to meet and hear some of the college’s best faculty who are stars of the academic gridiron.

This year’s showcase begins Saturday, Sept. 3, before the Vols’ home opener against the University of Montana.

This year’s lineup includes:

  • September 3— David Northington, School of Music professor, promises to educate and entertain with “A Musical Tribute to a Great American: Aaron Copland.” Northington will play selected works from the American composer and reminisce about his experience with Copland as a mentor.
  • September 10—Greg Kaplan, professor and interim department head of modern foreign languages and literatures, presents “Christian Pilgrimages and Cave Churches in Medieval Spain,” detailing the Way of St. James, an ancient pilgrimage route in northern Spain that continues to draw many thousands of pilgrims each year.
  • October 1—Gladys Alexandre, associate professor of biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology, presents “Research of the Microbial Kind,” discussing how microbes “think” and her research which seeks to characterize, at the molecular level, the strategies used by bacteria to adapt to changes in their surroundings.
  • October 8—Jered Sprecher, School of Art associate professor, presents “An Exploration of Humanity through Abstract Painting” and will share work of his own and others, as well as examine how commonplace objects can inspire and influence works of art.
  • October 15—Michael Best, associate professor of chemistry, presents “Bioorganic Chemistry: Advancing the Frontiers of Medicine.” His research involves the design and synthesis of organic molecules, which can be used to understand biological processes relevant to disease. One aspect of his research is geared to the making of enzyme inhibitors, which are used in an array of applications in modern medicine, including the development of new drugs to treat various diseases.
  • October 29—Tom Burman, department head and professor of history, presents “Christians’ Reactions to the Koran in History.” His remarks will provide an overview of Christian-Muslim relations throughout the ages, drawing from his scholarly work which focuses on the intellectual and religious interactions between Latin Christendom and Arab Islam, especially as these can be seen in the transition and circulation of Arabic works in medieval and early-modern Europe.
  • November 5—Casey Sams, associate professor of theater, will present “Creating Choreography for the Clarence Brown Stage,” as she examines the role of a choreographer in theatrical production, using examples from two of this fall’s Clarence Brown Theatre productions.
  • November 19 – Michael Knight, professor of English, presents “The Typist: An Author’s Translation of History Into Fiction,” talking about his inspiration for and the writing of his novel about an American soldier working as a typist in General Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters in post-war Tokyo.

The Pregame Showcase is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences. Sponsorship is also provided by WUOT 91.9 FM, with support from the UT Knoxville Office of Alumni Affairs and UT Athletics. For more information, visit

C O N T A C T :

Beth Gladden (865-974-9008,