Governor, legislators attend UT Martin groundbreaking ceremony

MARTIN, Tenn. — Gov. Bill Lee and other legislators attended a groundbreaking ceremony in West Tennessee.

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“If you have been blessed by God, you need to use his blessings to bless others, and this is one way you can do that,” said Bill Latimer, a University of Tennessee President’s Council member.

Now, Latimer’s name will grace the Latimer Engineering and Science Building at UT Martin.

The facility will be three stories and 120,000 square feet. It will also have updated amenities at every turn.

“I think what you’ll find is that this building is designed with 21st century students in mind,” said UT Martin Dean of Engineering and Natural Sciences Shadow Robinson.

“Students can come in early in the morning, spend their day here. They can engage with faculty in four different departments throughout the day. [They] can go to all their classes in the same building, all while working on state of the art equipment,” Robinson said.

It was made possible by Latimer’s $6.5 million donation, which raised enough money to get the funding matched by the state. It’ll cost $65 million altogether.

“It takes private citizens to step up. The Latimer family has been a great partner to this community, to our state, and now specifically to this university,” said Gov. Lee said.

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“Every day I wake up and thank them for what they believe in and their belief in this university,” Robinson said.

Officials ranging from Randy Boyd to the governor all spoke about the brand new building, which they hope will bring even more interest in STEM education.

“A facility like this will show to the industries and corporations that are thinking of relocating, that this might be a good place to be,” Robinson said.

“What we’re doing is creating a skilled workforce that’s attractive to businesses, that creates jobs. It drives an economy in this region,” Gov. Lee said.

Latimer reiterated that he wants this building for the future generations.

“We do believe in education, because it is the best way to raise people out of poverty,” Latimer said.

The new building is expected to open in fall of 2022.

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