University of Tennessee
Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center
Oak Ridge Forest Cumberland Forest Highland Rim Forest Arboretum

UT Arboretum Endowment Campaign

To ensure the future of the Arboretum, the Institute of Agriculture has launched a multi-year, $3 million fundraising campaign. One million dollars of capital improvements have been identified, including a new Auditorium. The Institute and the UT Arboretum Society, one of the oldest volunteer support organizations affiliated with the University of Tennessee, has announced that $885,750 has been raised in the campaign so far. This represents a major milestone in the overall campaign.

The endowment will fund the following critical features of the grand vision for the UT Arboretum:

  • Improved facilities for public access and enjoyment
  • Expanded collections of plants
  • Creation of an arboretum coordinator position
  • Enhancement of the grounds, displays and trails
  • Perpetuation and care of existing plant collections
  • Creation of vibrant education and outreach programs

The first of these critical features has reached a fundraising goal to move forward with building a new auditorium. Contributions totaling $426,000 were made by B&W Technical Services, LLC,Energy Solutions, LLC, Enrichment Federal Credit Union, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, ORNL Federal Credit Union, UT-Battelle, LLC, Y-12 Federal Credit Union, the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce and individual donors.

In addition, a unique public-private partnership between UT AgResearch, the UT Institute for Public Service and the Rogers Group has been launched to help make the auditorium a reality. Funding came through a land trade with Rogers Group for a small amount of acreage adjacent to the arboretum and for a piece of property in Sweetwater, TN.

However, the funding from this trade will only partially fund the facility and additional funding is being sought. View architectural renderings for the new Auditorium and learn how you can help complete this project.

This auditorium will provide much needed indoor space during inclement weather to enjoy and learn about the great outdoors any time of the year. It will also provide an ideal space for youth and environmental programs in the Oak Ridge area.

An Arboretum Coordinator will be brought on board to oversee and provide additional educational programming opportunities for the community, and to help market the new auditorium for other outreach, training, and social events. The coordinator will work under the direction of Kevin Hoyt, director of the UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center.

"We are very excited about the new auditorium project that we hope to break ground on in the near future. This new building will further support our mission of providing the land and supporting resources necessary for conducting natural resources research, enhancing our community outreach efforts, and providing a modern venue for increasing our educational programming efforts. It will in fact build on the legacy of this magnificent resource, and provide a catalyst of positive change for the UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center," said Kevin Hoyt, director of the UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center.

Prior successes of the campaign have included a lead gift of $500,000 from the Rogers Group in Oak Ridge.

Additionally, a new parking lot, improvements to and construction of new walking trails, new trail benches and signs, bridges, and new plant collections were made possible by a $114,000 grant from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation through its Recreational Trail Program.

The following are ways that you can help the endowment campaign reach its goal:

  • Become an ambassador for the Arboretum - spread the word about the Arboretum Endowment
  • Include the Arboretum Endowment in your estate planning
  • Honor loved ones with memorials to the Arboretum Endowment
  • Help the campaign partners identify potential donors

If you have questions, need more information, or wish to share your ideas for funding the Arboretum Endowment, please contact:

  • UT Institute of Agriculture Office of Institutional Development
  • Tom Looney at 865-974-5779
  • UT Arboretum - Kevin Hoyt at 865-483-3571
  • UT Arboretum Society - Charles Samuels at 865-482-3502

For more information on Planned Giving visit

University of Tennessee - Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center
901 South Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830 · Telephone: 865-483-3571 · Email: