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Estabrook Hall (002)Fifty years ago, the College of Architecture and Design opened its doors in Estabrook Hall to twenty students. Next weekend, alumni, faculty, staff, students, and industry partners will come together to celebrate its anniversary April 28–30.

“For fifty years, the college has impacted society through innovative research, transformational design education, and hands-on learning,” said Dean Scott Poole. “This historic occasion gives 4,000 alumni, as well as our current students and faculty, a chance to reflect on that incredible success and look with great anticipation to an even brighter future.”

The fiftieth anniversary weekend includes a welcome reception, tailgate lunch, class reunions, tours, exhibits, a golf tournament and the General Shale keynote lecture with Pritzker Prize-winning designer Thom Mayne, principal of Morphosis. The lecture takes place at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 30, at the Bijou Theatre. It is free and open to the public.

The weekend concludes with a gala at the Knoxville Museum of Art.

Also included in the celebration is a fundraising effort for the college to purchase the building where its Fab Lab operates.

The Fab Lab occupies a 20,000-square-foot renovated historic property on North Gay Street in downtown Knoxville. It features a studio, gallery, 3-D printers, laser cutters, water-jet cutter, robotics, an x-axis mill, and metal and woodworking equipment.

University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Art and Architecture Building, Location: Knoxville TN, Architect: Bruce McCarty
University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Art and Architecture Building

By purchasing tickets to participate in anniversary events, alumni and friends are helping the college raise $1.4 million to purchase the Fab Lab building.

“Lowering operating costs also means an increase in student scholarships,” said Poole.

Over the years the college has installed $2.5 million in new equipment and infrastructure upgrades, including 400 state-of-the-art workstations.

Poole said the college’s upcoming priorities include moving the college into the top tier in the country by increasing student scholarships and fellowships, recruiting the best faculty and students, and improving facilities.

“We are deeply appreciative for the support our alumni and industry partners have provided over the past five decades and continue to give today,” said Poole. “We are poised to meet the challenges of a world that is rapidly chaning.”


Amanda F. Johnson (865-974-6401,

Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,