“Institutional Memory”

Ran into a friend at “The Egg and I” (a great place for breakfast or lunch, by the way) yesterday who is the ultimate Tennessee loyalist, who had a couple of pertinent and troublesome comments about the University of Tennessee and its current direction.

Where are the “Tennessee people,” the people who understand the University’s role statewide and beyond?

Where is the “institutional memory,” the remembrances of what the university has meant to uncounted Tennesseans over the years.

The operating concepts are “context” and “perspective.”

There are plenty of us over the years who have been in the classrooms and walked the gently rolling hills of the campus.

Where are they in the leadership?

What can they offer to the university community?

Why does it appear that grass roots Tennesseans are seemingly out of the loop where a great university is concerned?

That conversation after lunch did jog a memory of two.

There were once athletic administrators who passed through UTAD over the years, stopping by like Delta passengers going through Atlanta on their way somewhere else.

One gentleman did it twice before becoming an AD somewhere else.

Remember thinking they couldn’t find Ayres Hall with a guide and a map.

You just have to wonder what top-level administrators know about the campus, the university’s role across the state, and the communities, from Mountain City to Memphis, Tiptonville to Copper Basin, that make up the state and its heritage.

“The State Is Our Campus” was once a prominent U. T. slogan.

Will it be so again?

The early Latin scholars had a phrase for this concept: “Quo Vadis?”

Where are we going and how do we get there?

It seems a pertinent question for a sunny afternoon in East Tennessee.

Thoughts, please.

Sunday, June 15, 2014