50 Years of Diversity
The University of Tennessee is holding a year-long celebration honoring the first African American undergraduate students enrolled in the UT system and the rich legacy of African American achievement system wide.
In July 1960, Theotis Robinson, Jr. applied for admission to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. On January 4, 1961, Robinson, along with two other African American students, Charles Edgar Blair and Willie Mae Gillespie, gained admittance and began classes. The doors of UTK's Graduate School were opened for African Americans in 1952.
Each campus has been invited to celebrate this milestone by honoring individuals involved in the desegregation of the university as well as other African American achievements on campus, in our communities, and throughout society. We will remember the struggles and celebrate the triumphs that shaped our evolution in to the campus we are today.
And as we pause to recognize our history, we will look ever forward to future achievements.
Visit our Celebration Events page for a listing of all 125th Anniversary events.