University of Tennessee and Tickle College of Engineering (TCE) dignitaries, faculty, staff, and students gathered outside the Zeanah Engineering Complex on Friday, October 14, for the building’s long-awaited dedication.
Chancellor Donde Plowman, TCE Dean Matthew Mench, and alumnus and benefactor Eric Zeanah gave remarks at the ceremony, focusing on more than just the physical structure and instead highlighting the significance of what it represents, both as a commitment to current and future students, as well as to the creation of research opportunities.
“The University of Tennessee is on the rise—and people are noticing,” said Plowman. “All across campus, we are building incredible momentum. This building is designed specifically for creating a collaborative and innovative environment for our students and our faculty.”
Calling the building “the future of education,” Plowman went on to note several of its key features, including its:
- 15,000 square feet of classroom space;
- 34 laboratories, with the capacity to add 30 more;
- Active learning classrooms with moveable walls, tables and monitors;
- Min H. and Yu Fan Kao Innovation and Collaboration studio.
In addition to noting that it is now the largest academic building on campus, Mench also stressed the impact it is having on students.
“The Zeanah building is a transformative facility designed to welcome and immerse students into the community of engineers,” said Mench, who is also the Wayne T. Davis Dean’s Chair of the college. “The spaces within are set up to advance state-of-the-art education and research and help us prepare the engineers of tomorrow.”
Emily Hutchins, a doctoral student in nuclear engineering, described how different her education and research opportunities have grown from when she started as a first-year student in Pasqua and Estabrook Halls, and how the Zeanah complex helps students push themselves and make their goals.
Student success was the topic of Zeanah’s remarks, as well. Eric, a 1984 industrial engineering graduate, and his wife Elaine Zeanah, a 1982 nursing graduate, have given back to UT in many ways over the years, with the goal of supporting students and preparing them to be their best.
“This isn’t so much about having a building as it is about what the building makes possible for students,” Zeanah said. “Fostering students, giving them extra training beyond just what is learned in the classroom, that makes a huge difference in their outcomes. Everything we have done, all of the support we have given has been with that in mind.”
The ceremony culminated in a ribbon cutting and balloon drop, with light snacks and building tours made available following the remarks.