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First “Everywhere You Look, UT” Mural of 2024 Painted in Rutherford County

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Orange and white "Everywhere You Look, UT" mural painted on brown barn

Last week Rutherford County gained its first “Everywhere You Look, UT” mural. This addition marks mural 51 in county 47 of the campaign and is also the first mural of 2024.

A barn provides the canvas for the 60-foot-wide mural on an 80-acre, alumni-owned corn, cotton, wheat and soybean farm in Murfreesboro near Cedar Crest Golf Course just a few miles south of the Nashville Superspeedway. It is visible to about 2,700 passersby each day.

“My blood runs orange, and for me, there’s no other college to go to,” said Joan Merryman (Knoxville ’93, ’94).  “We’re right near a golf course where high school students attend golf tournaments in our county, and I was like ‘Oh, my goodness, what a great opportunity for those kids to see UT in the town that Middle Tennessee State University is in.’ It seems to be blue, and I just thought, no, we need to bring a little orange to this county.”

The property is located on a farm in the fast-growing Walter Hill community in Rutherford County. The land has been in the family for two generations. Merryman’s father, the late John Todd (Knoxville, ’52, ’59) farmed this land along with her mother, Sue Todd. In between his degrees, John Todd served in the Army before obtaining his doctorate and returning to UT Knoxville where he served as a professor of agricultural education for 35 years.

During his time at UT Knoxville, Todd received the Distinguished Service Award in Agricultural Education and the Outstanding Teacher Award for the UT College of Agriculture. He also visited a high school in every county in Tennessee to recruit students to attend UT Knoxville.

The family submitted the property for consideration after reading about the campaign in Our Tennessee magazine.

“I’d say that you can’t separate our family’s history from the University of Tennessee and when my grandfather passed away in October of 2022, we decided that this would be an awesome way to honor him and his memory, because this farm is on the lands that he grew up farming,” said Todd Merryman (Knoxville, ‘21), John Todd’s grandson.

Todd Merryman is a third-generation UT Knoxville graduate. Additional family members are UT Knoxville alumni too, including four grandchildren and two grandchildren-in-law on his side.

Michael Cooper, a Nashville-based artist painted the mural—his first contribution to the statewide campaign.

Since launching in 2018, the “Everywhere You Look, UT” campaign includes murals in 47 counties across the state. The UT System has a goal of painting a mural in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties by 2030. Costs of the first mural in each county are covered by the University.

To learn more about the campaign and its locations, download photos or to nominate a canvas, visit the campaign website.


Ellie Dougherty

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Category: Headlines