UT Recieves $50M Anonymous Donation

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UT Campus, Knoxville (WVLT) - The University of Tennessee received a record-breaking personal donation Friday.

President John Petersen made the announcement at UT's Board of Trustees meeting, anonymous donors pledged $50 million to the university, that's the largest personal gift in UT's history.

A surprise announcement from Dr. John Petersen, who says he couldn't be happier.

"50 million dollars, I'd say pretty significant," Petersen says the anonymous donors want half of the 50-million dollars to go toward the athletics department, specifically Neyland Stadium.

"We're doing some major renovations on a fairly old stadium and we're building facilities."

Petersen says about 80% of other half of the gift will go toward UT's College of Veterinary Medicine.

"Right now our small animal hospital needs expansion and that's part of what's been talked about."

Petersen says the Vet School educates students and has saved the lives of thousands of animals, and this money will help the school rise even higher among the top in the nation.

"The research we can do in terms of vet medicine, in terms of not only animal diseases, but 85% of the animal diseases are people diseases."

The donors also want about 20% of the $25 million to help the College of Engineering.

"Engineering is a key part of our partnership of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and how we're going to deal with energy and environment in terms of helping the state."

Petersen says this history-making donation shows just how much pride some people have for UT.

"I think it's really superb that people recognize that athletics are what they are, but academic institutes really run on their academic programs."

Petersen, along with everyone else at UT, says he can't say thank you enough.

"It's an uplifting experience for all the people who work hard day in and day out at all our campuses and institutes."

Petersen says the initial installment of the gift will be a ten-million dollar grant.

The additional forty-million will be in an estate gift, funding specific programs over time in the donors' areas of interest.

So the donors passions are paired up with program needs, it's really a win-win situation.