IPS History


Dr. Edward J. Boling, former president of The University of Tennessee, had a vision to create an institute that would take university expertise to governments and industries across the state of Tennessee, much like the UT Institute of Agriculture assisted farmers. His idea was to bring technical assistance, applied research, consulting services, information and training to Tennesseans. As a result of his vision and recommendation, the UT Board of Trustees formed The Institute for Public Service at a special called meeting on Aug. 18, 1971. Hear him discuss his vision. Boling was the budget director for the state of Tennessee and had worked with the university, therefore he knew how university expertise could be used around the state. Hear him talk about it.

Boling’s recommendation said IPS “would encompass all of the functions of its component organizations and would provide: 1) a system-wide focal point for urban and public service; 2) a means to coordinate the various system-level public service activities; and 3) an organizational base for communication and program development that relates to both outside service clientele of the university and the campuses of the university system.”

The UT Board of Trustees accepted a recommendation by Boling in August 1971 to create the Institute for Public Service. IPS became the umbrella organization for the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS), which had helped Tennessee cities since its creation in 1949.

In 1974, the Tennessee General Assembly amended Section 67-3047 of Tennessee Code Annotated to change the words “division of university extension” to the words “institute for public service.” The Act to amend the section took effect July 1, 1974.

To view our IPS timelines, select from the options on the left.