The university took a big step forward Thursday by breaking ground on the Mossman Building, a state-of-the-art laboratory and classroom facility scheduled to open by fall 2018.
With six floors, the Mossman Building will add needed classroom and laboratory space to the campus. It will house portions of microbiology, biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, psychology, and nutrition.
The facility’s layout supports interactive teaching and hands-on learning, with plenty of space for both structured and unstructured interactions among students, faculty, and staff.
It’s named for the late Ken and Blaire Mossman, who met as students in 1968 and stayed connected to the university throughout their lives.
Ken Mossman’s younger brother, Michael Mossman, who is also a UT graduate, attended the event and shared his memories of the couple, saying how thrilled his late brother and sister-in-law would be to know that such a grand facility will bear their names.
“They were good decent people. Yes, they were accomplished. They were academics; they were bright. But at the heart of things they were good people who were interested in education, interested in paying things forward,” Michael Mossman said.
Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek said having state-of-the-art facilities is critical to recruiting and retaining the best faculty and students. The Mossman Building is one of two large laboratory and classroom buildings now underway. Strong Hall is being built just a few blocks west on Cumberland Avenue.
“We’ve grown our research awards and expenditures and raised our national profile, particularly in science and engineering. We’ve made great strides in recruiting more students into STEM majors,” Cheek said. “Facilities are a key factor in making progress toward all of these goals.
“The six-story facility will be a standing symbol of the Mossmans’ commitment to their alma mater and their belief in higher education. It’s also a wonderful legacy of their forty-year relationship—which began on our campus.”
The couple provided UT with an estate gift that established the Mossman Lecture Series. Last night’s inaugural Mossman Distinguished Lecture featuring Bill Nye the Science Guy drew more than 8,000 people, many of them UT students.