A $6.5 million gift has moved an engineering and science building on the UT Martin campus a step closer to reality.

If state legislators approve the funding, the Latimer Engineering and Science building will be the first capital outlay-funded project for the campus since 2006 and will be named for the donor of UT Martin’s single-largest gift on record.

Bill Latimer
Bill Latimer

William Latimer III, (Knoxville ’60) of Union City, along with the rest of his family in Northwest Tennessee made the gift “to help make the world a better place.”

The unprecedented gift caps an unprecedented allowance by the Tennessee Legislature. State building projects at public colleges and universities require a 25 percent match by the institutions to begin construction. In a first for Tennessee government, however, Tennessee Sen. John Stevens (R-Huntingdon) led an effort to lower the UT Martin match to 10 percent. The university was given a one-year opportunity to raise that 10 percent — or $6.5 million —  matching funds for the 120,000-square-foot building.

“The Latimer building will transform the UT Martin campus, not just physically with the addition of a building, but in ways that we can’t imagine yet,” said UT Martin Chancellor Keith Carver. “We know this building will encourage innovative and cross-disciplinary research that will impact the entire region. This would not have been possible without Bill’s generosity and desire to make life better for others.”

The Latimer building will house the university’s departments of engineering, computer science, chemistry and physics, mathematics and statistics and an entrepreneurial center. The plans include classrooms and teaching laboratories, as well as dedicated student laboratories and project work spaces.

Dr. Abigail Shelton and Dinah Batchelor work in a chemistry lab at UT Martin