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From 1916 to 1971, the Daily Beacon and other student publications were published and supervised by a separate corporation known as the University of Tennessee Publishing Association, Inc. In 1971, University administrators dissolved the University of Tennessee Publishing Association, Inc. and the University accepted its assets and liabilities.

Subsequently, the Department of Student Publications was created in the Division of Student Affairs to assume administrative oversight of a long-standing student publications tradition at the University of Tennessee.

When the School of Journalism was incorporated into the College of Communications in 1969, it hired the first student publications director, who was also a part-time journalism instructor. The publications moved into the department’s present offices in the Communications and University Extension Building. The Publications Council (a group that was in place as part of the UT Publishing Association) was reorganized and renamed the Student Publications Board. The Student Publications Board assumed accountability for use of funds allocated from the student activities fee (University Programs and Services Fee) to the publications’ unified budget. Since that time the department director has reported to the Dean of Students, and the department has focused on providing, through the publications, co-curricular experience and leadership development opportunity to undergraduate and graduate students from all majors and colleges. Cooperative ties with academic departments continue

Brief History of the Publications

In 1871 students at the University published a semi-monthly newspaper, The University Times-Prospectus, which included ” literature, science, news, wit, humor, and whatever else may be of interest in connection with the Institution.” More frequent student newspaper publishing began in the first decade of the 1900s, and since 1906 a student newspaper has published continuously. The Orange and White published for 61 years, as a weekly first and later as a semi-weekly.

The Publications Council, which had overseen the newspaper since 1916, hired alumnus David Hall ’65 to develop a plan for a student-managed daily. That led to the establishment of The Daily Beacon in the spring of 1967, successor to The Orange and White. An initial publishing schedule of four issues per week was soon expanded to five days and continues uninterrupted to the present, with publication of 161 regular issues in the past year. Publication of a student newspaper is one of the oldest traditions at the University of Tennessee.

The Phoenix Literary Art Magazine has evolved through a well-documented and interesting literary publishing history at the University. The first literary publication was the University of Tennessee Magazine, published by seniors from 1840-43 and “dedicated to the good cause of education and morality.”

During the 1870s, two literary societies, Chi Delta and Philomathesian, began publications bearing the names Chi Delta Crescent and Philo Star. In 1875, they produced a joint publication, The University Monthly, which survived three years. The 1880s saw a competitive, personal, and political episode of publishing, characterized by conflicts among students and faculty regarding editorial content, practices and approval. The societies published underground briefly, and in 1888 they launched an all-student periodical, Tennessee University Student, with the purpose of “advancing the general welfare and interests of the University and its students.” In 1894, after some criticism, the name was changed to the Tennessee University Magazine, and it published poetry.

From 1912 to 1921 the University of Tennessee Magazine published and was replaced by the comic literary Mugwump, published until 1932. Despite its goal of being a leader and reformer of its type of periodical and offering to give keys to “true college life and real Tennessee spirit,” it had troubles with deadlines and censors among the faculty and administration. It was terminated by the administration for “unworthiness as a student publication.”

The next literary publication, The Tower, surfaced in 1936 but ultimately failed due to funding problems. It was eleven years before another literary publication, the Tennessean, started with the goal of “good writing and responsive reading on campus.” It published until 1951.

A literary publication did not exist at UT again until the current Phoenix Literary Art Magazine evolved in the fall of 1959 from the quarterly newspaper supplement, The Orange and White Literary Supplement. From that time it has remained in publication. It adopted the name The Phoenix in 1965, and began publishing two regular issues each academic year, plus an occasional special issue. The Phoenix staff holds a poetry reading each semester to correspond with the release of the publication.

The Volunteer yearbook was first published in 1897 and has appeared annually until 2008. The book published a visual history of campus life, documenting the student experience and the university environment.