The 40th mural in the University of Tennessee System’s “Everywhere You Look, UT” campaign differs from its relatives—the 42-foot, double-sided emblem is on wheels.
The latest location in UT’s statewide campaign is a grain trailer owned by UT Extension employee and Maury County farmer James Harlan. The trailer will now double as a rolling representation of UT’s statewide presence and connection to Tennessee’s agricultural industry during its travels throughout the region.
While the mural’s home might be atypical, its connections to UT are just as significant as its 39 predecessors. From his multigenerational farm and fifth-generation name to his two UT degrees and longstanding ties to Extension, Harlan’s life and mural are rooted in heritage.
“I spent a lot of time as a young man joining my grandfather at educational programs offered by UT Extension,” Harlan said. “That was my first exposure to the UT System, and that led me towards my educational and professional paths.”
James Harlan Farms has been in Harlan’s family since 1931. Operations have changed through the years, but a passion for agriculture never has.
“To my family, agriculture is not just a way to make a living,” Harlan said. “It’s a way of life.”
Harlan holds agricultural degrees from UT Martin and UT Knoxville. His education led him to a career with UT Extension in 2017. In January, Harlan began work with the UT Center for Profitable Agriculture, where he uses his personal and professional experience to help dairy and poultry farmers increase the profitability of their operations.
The center celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
“While I haven’t been with this office a long time, they’ve had 25 years to make impacts on people’s lives statewide,” said Harlan. “I hope to use the trailer as a tool to promote the work the university and the center do and the difference they make.”
For Harlan, it’s personal.
“Agriculture has always been more than a paycheck to me,” said Harlan. “It’s relationships, and those are very precious to people who work in the industry. When I come to the office, I don’t have as many coworkers as I do friends.”
Harlan recalls hearing about the “Everywhere You Look, UT” campaign’s launch in 2018. When the idea for a mobile mural recently came to him, he knew his trailer—with its ties to his agricultural heritage and UT—would be the perfect home.
“I look around my life, and ‘Everywhere You Look, UT,’ is absolutely true,” Harlan said.
He hopes the mural sparks interest in UT for others—whether that’s in education, career path or resources.
“We’re not just football,” Harlan said. “Of course, we’re big on that. But there’s an infinite number of ways UT could change someone’s life, and I hope this mural is the tool that shows that.”
To learn more about the campaign and its locations, download photos or to nominate a canvas, visit the campaign website.