Dr. Philip Acree Cavalier, Carol and Bill Latimer, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and UT President Randy Boyd break ground on the Latimer Engineering and Science Building Sept. 18. The building is scheduled to open fall 2022.

Latimers honored during engineering and science building groundbreaking ceremony

The University of Tennessee at Martin community, along with numerous notable Tennessee officials, gathered in front of the future site of the Latimer Engineering and Science Building, on Sept. 18, to honor Bill and Carol Latimer for their $6.5 million gift to the university. The Latimers, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Lt. Gov. Randy McNally and UT President Randy Boyd were all in attendance to help break ground on the first academic building to be constructed at UT Martin in over 40 years.

“Bill and Carol truly understand the vital role education plays in changing the trajectories of families, strengthening communities and developing future leaders,” said Dr. Philip Acree Cavalier, UT Martin provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “Like many of the speakers and dignitaries who are here today, they value the role the University of Tennessee at Martin plays in the economic development of West Tennessee. Recognizing the new ways this building will contribute to the transformational experiences of our students, Bill provided the lead gift for this building that enabled us to secure the matching funds from the state. Today, because of Bill’s incredible leadership and generosity, we are officially breaking ground on this great new facility.”

Bill donated the 10% match for the $65 million, 120,000-square-foot, three-story STEM building in 2016 while Dr. Robert Smith was UT Martin interim chancellor. Bill attributed Smith’s diligent work to bettering the university as one of the reasons the groundbreaking ceremony was even happening. Through the hard work and dedication of many UT Martin officials, including Smith and current UT Martin Chancellor Keith Carver, over the past four years, the Latimers’ donation was realized, and construction began.

Bill said of the many reasons he and his wife decided to provide UT Martin with the match needed to fund the building, his faith in God and his faith in UT Martin were the leading factors.

“Carol and I believe that if God has blessed you, then you need to use His blessings to bless others,” said Bill. “God has blessed us much more than we could ever have expected and much, much more than we deserve, and God’s blessing is the reason we are up here today.”

The Latimer Engineering and Science Building will house the departments of chemistry and physics, computer science, engineering, mathematics and statistics and the pre-professional health sciences program. The Latimer Building will feature classrooms, laboratories, offices, as well as a small observatory.

The building is estimated to have an economic impact of $56.3 million, as well as create over 900 jobs from initial construction through the first 10 years of graduates.

“The Lord certainly granted favor to this university when he introduced the Latimers to it, or when they became as engaged in it as they have been,” said Lee. “Thank you very, very much for your commitment here. It wouldn’t have happened except for you. This building wouldn’t be going up except for you. The lives that are going to be changed in that facility and in this region wouldn’t be changed except for you. We are deeply grateful for that.”

The Latimer Engineering and Science Building is scheduled to open fall 2022. Current construction for the Latimer Building can be viewed from the Holt Humanities Building webcam at utm.edu/webcams.

For more information about the Latimer Engineering and Science Building, contact the Office of University Relations at 731-881-7615.


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