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Mural Dedication Celebrates Proposed Martin Methodist College, UT System Merger

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The dedication for the “Everywhere You Look, UT” mural was held April 16 at Giles County Furniture in Pulaski.

This was the 13th of 14 murals that are part of the University of Tennessee’s statewide campaign to recognize the accessibility of these universities in the state of Tennessee, the newest location being July 1 when Martin Methodist College is expected to merge with the UT System and become the fourth of its undergraduate campuses.

“The University of Tennessee System has a growing presence here in our community,” Mayor Pat Ford said. “And folks, this right here is just the beginning.

“In terms of education, this is a game changer.”

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According to the university, the 30-foot-high mural is expected to be seen by 2,800 passersby on a daily basis.

The proposed merger was first announced last year and has been in the works ever since.

“After nine months, we are now at the cusp of suddenly being able to welcome the Martin Methodist family into the University of Tennessee family,” UT System President Randy Boyd said. “And being the first new undergraduate campus as part of the UT System in over 50 years, I can tell you we couldn’t be more excited.

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“It’s all about keeping our talent and students in the state of Tennessee.”

“It’s always been about the same thing and that is about serving southern Middle Tennessee,” Martin Methodist College President Mark La Branche added.

COVID protocols were in place during the ceremony as those at the podium spoke of what the proposed merger means to Pulaski and those seeking to obtain a higher education.

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“We are the lucky ones to be a part of this campaign,” said Giles County native and UT Knoxville College of Communication and Information faculty member Courtney Carpenter Childers, whose parents Phil and Connie Carpenter are the owners of Giles County Furniture. “We can not wait for UT Southern to become a reality.”

“I wish I could take the excitement of this community and bottle it,” Ford added.

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