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UTM prepares for McWherter Center

Staff Writer

Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 13:02

After more than two years of negotiation, it appears that UTM is almost ready to finalize the plans for the Ned Ray McWherter Institute for Innovation and Collaboration.

The institute is being established to help those students who have the talent to succeed but haven’t yet found their niche. Not all students who come through UTM are going to be summa cum laude, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be successful.

The idea behind the McWherter Institute is to help those students with that untapped potential. There will be criteria to get in, but it hasn’t been officially determined yet.

“We want clever, hungry, students, “ said UTM Chancellor Dr. Thomas Rakes. “Students that need help with resumes, practicing interviews and who have qualities to make them successful. We want the institute to be tied with economic development as well.”

Rakes also said that guest speakers would be brought in to help educate the students using personal experiences.

“We want to bring in entrepreneurs and people in healthcare and other levels of the business and the political world to help educate these kids about what’s going on in the real world,” Rakes said.

The two other driving people behind this project are co-directors Dr. Janet Wilbert, Associate Professor of Health and Human Performance, and Mr. Ashton Jennings, Associate Director of Development. Along with Rakes, Wilbert and Jennings are heading up the committee to establish the institute and determine the goals and requirements.

“At this time there is no building slated for housing the Ned Ray McWherter Institute,” Wilbert said. “In the future, once the NRMI is established, we would pursue a freestanding facility to house the institute. This institute is so new; there are many aspects of it that are still being worked on.”

Even though all the details haven’t been worked out yet, one thing is certain, UTM will be getting a new building dedicated to improve the future of its students sometime in the near future. With the completion of the Fine Arts building in the not-so-distant future and the news of the McWherter Institute recently coming out, UTM is clearly taking measures to help improve the future of its students, not only helping these students grow intellectually, but also as people.


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