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Inaugural Class Going Strong, Meets Benefactors

The first group of Integrated Business and Engineering Program students are now well into their first semester, having gotten the chance to kick off the program with a meet and greet session and dinner with some of the people responsible for the program itself.

The event, held at Knoxville’s Club LeConte, featured a keynote address by Ralph Heath—a member of the board of advisors for both the Tickle College of Engineering and the Haslam College of Business and a key proponent of the program.

Following dinner, students were able to ask questions to a  panel featuring Heath, fellow Tickle board member Bill Eversole, and fellow Haslam board member Jerry Henry.

“Having a chance to sit down with senior executives of industry who are willing to share their experiences and ask them questions is one of the key components of the program,” said Heath. “The candid dialogue provides a unique perspective that would otherwise not be realized in the classroom.”

The tough nature of some of the queries highlighted the caliber of students in the program, with topics from production to entrepreneurship being discussed at length.

In addition to asking questions to the panel, making introductions to the crowd, and telling what they hoped to get out of the program, students also got to mingle with officials from both colleges before and during dinner.

The goal is to have around 20 students in each class, with a mix of each college’s offerings represented. For example, the 19 students in the program this year represent six departments in each college, 14 different majors in total.

Students are selected for the program during the spring semester of their first year, entering the program as sophomores.

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