First Doctorate Degree Earned

On February 15, 1879, the UT Board of Trustees adopted recommendations of the faculty related to advanced degrees. The PhD was to be conferred upon “graduates of this University or other institutions of like grade, who shall have completed with distinction a two-years’ course of professional study under the direction of the Faculty, and submitted a satisfactory thesis of special extent.” The first PhD (in literature and classics) was conferred upon William Isaac Thomas in 1886. (He had received the BS in 1884 and the AM in 1885.) The trustees’ minutes indicate that he was being granted the PhD “for two years work in Languages.” The minutes of the faculty (June 7, 1886) indicated that he was being recommended because of “special work in philology.” His brother, Price Thomas, received the PhD in 1887.

In 1887 the faculty voted to discontinue offering the PhD. The PhD was not reinstituted until 1928, at the School of Biological Sciences at the Medical College in Memphis, which conferred the PhD upon Edgar Foster Williams Jr. In 1944 a doctorate in chemistry at Knoxville was implemented, and the first PhD thereafter was conferred upon John Fuzek Jr. in June 1947.

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  • Title First Doctorate Degree Earned
  • Author
  • Keywords First Doctorate Degree Earned
  • Website Name Volopedia
  • Publisher University of Tennessee Libraries
  • URL
  • Access Date June 17, 2024
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update October 7, 2018