*In-state, two semesters' tuition and required fees. Source: U.S. News Best Colleges 2012.
Established as Blount College before Tennessee’s statehood, the University of Tennessee has been called East Tennessee College and East Tennessee University. The Knoxville campus is the flagship institution of the UT system, which includes campuses in Martin and Chattanooga as well as a Health Science Center in Memphis.
Town: Knoxville (pop. 178,874)
Enrollment: 27,523 (Fall 2010)
Nickname: Volunteers, because of Tennesseans’ reputation for military service dating to the War of 1812
Colors: Orange and white
Traditions: Approximately 200 boats form the Volunteer Navy, an unusual tailgating experience outside Neyland Stadium on the Tennessee River. UT’s Pride of the Southland band played the song “Rocky Top” during drills in 1972, and it became a fan sing-along favorite.
Eats and treats: The popular Downtown Grill & Brewery has seven signature beers on tap and an eclectic menu featuring steaks and seafood along with Mexican and Italian dishes. Pete’s Coffee Shop is a student favorite because, as its slogan says, it offers “wholesome home-cooked meals at a reasonable price.”
Places and spaces: The iconic, torch-bearing statue of The Volunteer has presided over Circle Park since 1968. When the historic Tennessee Theatre opened in 1928, some called it the South’s most beautiful theater. The East Tennessee Veterans Memorial is a public plaza with an arrangement of granite pillars bearing the names of local veterans who have died in military service since the beginning of World War I.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Tennesseans’ reputation for military service dates to the Civil War.