It’s a far cry from Farr Hall… that was the general consensus among those gathered Friday afternoon for the Math and Science Building Dedication Ceremony at Lincoln Memorial University (LMU).
Farr Hall was home to LMU’s science classes for decades, and the new, state-of-the-art building now housing those classes was dedicated and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam gave the keynote speech in a special ceremony.
“The lessons learned here will mold into a lifetime for these students,” said Dr. James Dawson, LMU’s president.
Dawson introduced Dr. Autry O.V. “Pete” DeBusk, chairman of the LMU Board of Trustees, as the man who “had a vision for the future” of the school. Many credit DeBusk’s philanthropy and dedication to the school for its tremendous growth over the past years. The medical school is named in his honor, and he is very active on the board.
“He has ensured a great future for this school,” said Dawson.
DeBusk then took the floor and told the crowd about his vision for the new 130,000 sq. ft. building. He spoke of the state-of-the-art equipment and of securing marble for the lobby from the old Baptist Hospital building in Knoxville.
“It’s built to be here a long time,” DeBusk said before introducing Haslam. “This marks the beginning of a new era for LMU.”
Haslam told the audience that although a private school, LMU is a vital part of the mission to education the people of Tennessee.
“We still have miles to go,” he said, adding that only 22 percent of people over the age of 25 in the state have a degree, while 50 percent is the goal over the next few years.
“We’re going to need all the help we can get,” he said, “and I’m thrilled to help dedicate this building.”
In his recruitment of businesses to the state, Haslam said he’s learned that math and science graduates are the ones many businesses look for.
The governor thanked DeBusk for his vision and work at the school.
“It takes people like him to make things work; that’s what makes big things happen,” he said. “On behalf of the state, we thank you. This is a great day in the history of this area.”
Dawson concluded the program by conferring an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service on Haslam with the help of trustees Dr. Sam Mars Jr., Dr. Gary Burchett and DeBusk.
After the program’s conclusion, the audience moved to the second floor, where DeBusk presented plaques to several officials from the science field and unveiled “Scientists Who Changed the World,” a permanent show of appreciation to officials at Oak Ridge’s Y-12 plant and other partners.