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The University of Tennessee Board of Trustees on Friday approved several projects at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, including a new building for the Haslam College of Business, elevating a department within the UT Institute of Agriculture to a school, a major in international business and an honorary doctoral degree for former Gov. Bill Haslam.

Campus Master Plan Amendment

The board voted to approve an amendment to the campus master plan that allows for construction of a new building to expand the Haslam College of Business. The new facility will accommodate the record growth of the college, whose enrollment has grown significantly in the past three years and is at an all-time high. In the coming years, the college is projected to grow 6-8% annually.

The board approved an additional $127,350,000 in funding for the new building, bringing the total budget to $227,350,000. The board approved an initial $100 million for the project in October 2021. The additional funds will allow construction of a larger capacity building than originally planned—approximately 306,800 square feet—due to the significant enrollment growth in the college.

The plan for for the new building includes 14,000 square feet of space allocated to research, behavioral and social sciences, and design thinking labs, 32 state-of-the-art classrooms and additional office space.

The new building will be constructed across Volunteer Boulevard from the current Haslam Business Building.

Academic Program Changes

The board approved elevating the Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries to the School of Natural Resources. The department is housed in the Herbert College of Agriculture within the Institute of Agriculture. The change will make UT’s program more competitive with natural resource programs in the region and throughout the country by enhancing its visibility and stature and providing opportunities for expansion. A target implementation date is set for January 2023.

“The creation of the School of Natural Resources will provide new opportunities and increased visibility for the great work our students and faculty are doing,” said UT Knoxville Chancellor Donde Plowman. “The University of Tennessee is on the rise, and you see that across our entire campus, including the Herbert College of Agriculture.”

The board also voted to approve a new major in international business. Students would be required to pursue a second major within the Haslam College of Business and complete the following requirements:

  • 15 hours of international business coursework, including a 3-credit international business capstone
  • A 9-credit collateral in an advanced foreign language
  • A semester of study abroad in an approved location

The university expects to launch the degree program in spring 2023.

Academic program changes will be submitted to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission for approval.

Former Gov. Bill Haslam to Be Honored

The board approved a request from Plowman to award former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, who is also a former mayor of Knoxville, with an honorary doctoral degree for his outstanding achievements, civil leadership and commitment to education. Haslam will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree through the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences.

“Gov. Haslam exemplifies the Volunteer spirit in all that he does, including leading the way for others,” Plowman said. “His life and accomplishments empower the young people who follow in his footsteps, showing them they too can make a monumental difference personally and professionally.”

Bill Haslam speaks during a Division of Student Success presentation “Navigating Civil Discourse featuring Governor Phil Bredesen and Bill Haslam” in the Student Union Auditorium as part of Vol Success Week
Former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam

Haslam recently teamed up with former Gov. Phil Bredesen and the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy to launch the “You Might Be Right” podcast. The discussion-format podcast challenges people to work together to find solutions, even when opinions and beliefs differ. He serves on the inaugural Board of Fellows for the Institute of American Civics in the Baker Center.


Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,

Lisa Leko (865-974-8698,