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Celebrating its rich and transformative 125-year history, the UT College of Law will announce its campaign to raise $45 million.

The official announcement will be made tonight as part of the college’s anniversary gala.

“For 125 years, our college has been a driving force in Tennessee’s legal community,” said Dean Melanie Wilson. “We have an established track record for advancing the profession and educating many of the leaders and brightest minds in Tennessee, if not in our nation. Private support for the college ensures that we remain at the forefront of educating well-rounded students and advancing legal knowledge and research.”

Although it began with just nine students in a class in downtown Knoxville, UT Law now graduates an average of 150 students a year, with the majority beginning their practice in Tennessee. Today, more than 5,000 UT Law alumni make their home in Tennessee.

The college already has raised $36 million toward its goal.

“Our College of Law is so important to the mission of the University of Tennessee,” said Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. “The generosity of donors in making these leadership gifts is a testament to the college’s impact in Tennessee, the US, and the world.”

The college aims to strengthen support for student scholarships to recruit a diverse and talented student body and ease the debt load of graduates as they begin their careers. In addition, it is focused on raising funds to support endowed professorships to help recruit and retain top faculty.

The college also seeks support for its various programs, including the Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution, the Clayton Center for Entrepreneurial Law, the Institute for Professional Leadership, and its Legal Clinic, the longest-running program of its kind in the country. The programs promote legal scholarship and offer students real-world experiential learning opportunities to prepare them for legal practice.

“Financial support in these key areas will bolster UT Law and improve our reputation and value to the university, the state, and the legal profession,” Wilson said.

Co-chaired by alumni George T. “Buck” Lewis and Richard L. “Rick” Rose, the College of Law’s campaign is part of an overall push by UT toward becoming a Top 25 public university. According to U.S. News and World Report’s 2016 rankings, UT Law is ranked 27th among public law schools, and the legal clinic is ranked eighth among those in public law schools.

Read more about UT’s “Investing in the Journey to the Top 25” campaign.


Roger Hagy (865-974-6788,