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UT Dedicates New William M. Bass Forensic Anthropology Building

william bass forensic anthropology building
William M. Bass Forensic Anthropology Building was dedicated on September 27, 2011
Image by John Disque

KNOXVILLE -- The University of Tennessee dedicated its new William M. Bass Forensic Anthropology Building on September 27, 2011 honoring the achievements of the world-renowned forensic anthropologist.

UT Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek also announced Bass' recent commitment to give his papers to the UT Libraries.

The new building, located on the UT Medical Center campus, will enhance research programs and provide classroom facilities for UT students and the many law enforcement, fire and medical professionals who train at the adjacent Anthropological Research Facility.

The building is privately funded, most notably from Bass, his family and Jimmy and Dee Haslam, Knoxville residents and longtime UT supporters.

Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek thanked Bass, a UT distinguished professor emeritus and best-selling author, for the initial gift made five years ago by him and his family.

The Haslam gift, made in honor of Bass, helped to make the building a reality.

"We are proud to add a building that bears Dr. Bass' name," Cheek said. "For more than 40 years, Bill's work has been at the forefront of advancing forensic anthropology as a science and academic discipline. He's helped to revolutionize medical identification and the ability to investigate and prosecute criminal cases," Cheek said.

Enhancing support for UT's world-class programs is critical to UT's goals for becoming a Top 25 public research university.

Bass came to UT in 1971. He established the Anthropological Research Facility in 1981 and growth in the program led to the creation of the UT Forensic Anthropology Center. In 1995, Bass and his family established the William M. Bass Endowment to support student and faculty research in anthropology.

UT has trained more than a quarter of the nation's board-certified forensic anthropologists, who serve in key roles in government, museums and private sector jobs. The William M. Bass Donated Skeletal Collection is the largest modern bone collection in America and is used by anthropologists from around the world. The collection helped produce an interactive forensic discrimination database, now commonly used in this country and abroad.

Along with time-of-death research, the center has led the testing of ground-penetrating radar technology that gives anthropologists and disaster recovery workers accurate information on buried human remains. UT has contributed to knowledge of fire impact on humans and has established the standard on cremation weights, both of which have proved critical to successful police and arson investigations.

Bass' donation of his papers provides a significant enhancement to UT Libraries' Special Collections, a set of rare and unique materials that supports the scholarly needs of the UT community. The library provides broad access to local collections for scholars in regional, national and international communities, as well as the general public.

The dedication event helped to celebrate UT's Campaign for Tennessee which has already succeeded its $1 billion system-wide goal. The Knoxville campus has raised more than $760 million which is being used to support scholarships, faculty chairs, facilities and enhancement of academic programs, among other areas.

Source: The University of Tennessee

Published September 29, 2011, 4:50 p.m.

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