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Message Framework

This message framework is a guide for how to craft stories about the University of Tennessee.

The three pillars help define who we are, what we do, and why we do it, which are elements at the heart of any good story. The themes within each pillar bring our stories to life. The proof points within each theme are just a few specific examples of how to articulate the unique qualities of our institution.

Some stories may call upon one or two of the pillars. The best stories will touch on all three.

Use this framework when writing to be sure your communications reflect the brand of the university.

students on pedestrian walkwayPillar 1: VOLUNTEER



“One that beareth a torch shadoweth oneself to give light to others.”

  • Flagship, land-grant institution
  • ORNL partnership
  • Illustrious alumni



We serve the Volunteer State with conviction and empower others to do the same.

  • Jones Center for Leadership and Service
  • Vol Leaders Academy
  • Volunteering with the Vols



We are committed to enhancing the communities we serve.

  • Ag Extension
  • Pro Bono Clinic
  • Community-based schools

Students take part in experiments in Assistant Professor of nuclear engineering David Donavanís plasma energy lab in the SERF building. Photo by Jack Parker. Photo courtesy of the Office of Engineering Communications.Pillar 2: EDUCATION & RESEARCH


Academic Excellence

We offer exceptional educational programs and create amazing student experiences.

  • Program rankings
  • Faculty memberships and awards
  • Rhodes Scholars



Our innovation and creativity enrich lives.

  • Advanced materials and manufacturing
  • Hypersonics



Our success is made possible through our partnerships and connections.

  • UT-ORNL joint institutes
  • Precious Prints Project
  • Tennessee River Line

Students gather in the rain to plant trees around Morgan Hall for Tennessee Arbor Day and National Arbor Day on March 01, 2019.Pillar 3: LEGACY


Access and Opportunity

We offer an affordable, high-quality education to Tennessee residents.

  • UT Promise Scholarship
  • Almost 90% of Tennessee applicants are offered pathway to admission
  • About 50% of undergraduate students graduate debt-free



We make a difference across Tennessee and around the globe.

  • $1.7 billion economic impact on the state
  • 250,000 alumni worldwide
  • Center for Sport, Peace, and Society



We build on our past in pursuit of our future.

  • 225-year history of leadership and service
  • Volunteer spirit
  • Athletic powerhouse