In 1984, the General Assembly and the Governor of Tennessee together announced the creation of a new "Centers of Excellence" program for Tennessee public higher education. The Centers, to be selected through a statewide competitive process, would build on the research strengths of six Tennessee Board of Regents universities and the campuses of the University of Tennessee. Their purpose would be to focus the capabilities of public higher education on service to the people of Tennessee by expanding the state's research base, thereby increasing its national and international stature and its economic competitiveness. Now, at the end of the program's first decade, there are 26 Centers of Excellence: 16 at the Tennessee Board of Regents universities and 10 on the campuses of the University of Tennessee.

By 1995, the TBR Centers of Excellence had accumulated a substantial and enviable record of acheivement in response to the original goals of the Governor and General Assembly. The TBR Centers have served a broad cross-section of citizens, communities, state and federal agencies, and industries, and they have contributed greatly to the enhancement of art, technology, education, the environment, and quality of life in Tennessee. In reviewing their accomplishments, there is no doubt that they have acheived their primary purpose. This report attempts to highlight those accomplishments and to depict, in broad strokes, the story of the 16 centers of the Tennessee Board of Regents Universities. And what a story it is!

This report is organized by each sponsoring campus and center in alphabetical order. Each center's entry presents a statement of its particular mission, its major accomplishments and plans for the future. The report was prepared by the commemorative Committee apointed from the directors of the TBR Centers of Excellence. It was prepared for printing and produced by Tennessee Technological University under the able guidance of April Olberding, Helen Knott, and Binney Stumpf. The logo featured on the back cover was designed by David W. Johnson for a student design competition, sponsored by the Austin Peay Center for the Creative Arts. This publication is one of several activities planned by the centers to mark both the 10th anniversary of the Centers of Excellence program and the 200th anniversary of the State of Tennessee.