UT begins painting mural in Harriman

(University of Tennessee press release) It’s a tale of education and home with the University of Tennessee System woven throughout.
Now a 16-foot by 65-foot “Everywhere you look, UT” mural proclaims that story on the side of the building that’s home to the 128-year-old Chase Drugs and Clinical Services.
Harriman City Manager Kevin Helms discovered the UT System mural opportunity and wanted to bring it to town. Already familiar with UT through the assistance he receives from UT’s Institute for Public Service, he wanted the mural to encourage middle school and high school students to pursue higher education.
“The more education a person gets, the better their chances are in employment as they go through life,” he said. “Whether it’s going to a vocational school, whether it’s a two-year institution leading to a four-year institution or whether somebody goes straight into a four-year institution, we want to see them go do that, have some fun, get their degree, and then come back home. And, hopefully, we’ve created some opportunities here for them to succeed.”
With Chase Drugs providing the perfect wall for the mural, Helms approached current Chase Drugs owner, Michael Hardin.
“I thought it was a good opportunity to spotlight this area,” Michael said.
His wife Mae Ann Hardin, a 1991 UT Knoxville graduate, agreed.
“Being an alumna, I was super excited that UT was going to be represented in such a unique way here in Roane County,” she said. “I just think it’s wonderful when UT wants to be involved in so many different, small areas in the state of Tennessee—not just in the big cities where you find their programs and universities.”
With a 128-year history of assisting Harriman’s 6,400 residents, Chase Drugs also has many links with UT through those years knitting the two together. UT Health Science Center pharmacy students still arrive in Harriman to learn from Michael. Just as Michael as a high school student learned from Hugh Sliger, a 1950 UTHSC pharmacy graduate, who previously owned Chase Drugs from the 1970s until 1997.

After graduating from the UT Health Science Center in 1950, Hugh joined Chase Drugs. Now in his 90s, he fondly recalls his days turned years and decades of helping the community.
“The people I got to know—everybody that came into town just about came through Chase,” Hugh said.
Hugh’s children, Jan Sliger Fine (a 1981 and 1982 UT Knoxville graduate) and Jeff Sliger (a 1984 UT Knoxville graduate) fondly recall accompanying their father to the store, which featured a soda fountain, and being treated to sundaes, milkshakes, banana splits and hot peanuts. They also enjoyed spending time with the pharmacists who worked with their father and the women working the makeup counter.
“Overall it was a happy place to be,” Jan said. “People came in and out of there for breakfast and had their coffee, and they would have lunch there—best cheeseburgers in town. All of the businessmen would come in and exchange stories. Then the high school kids would come in and hangout.”
Their lives have been tied to UT from the beginning. Their father bought season tickets to the Vols football games in 1958 and family members can still be found in section S, row 31, seats three and four.
“I told my son, who is currently enrolled at the University of Tennessee as a freshman, that in 38 years I want it to be announced that there’s been a Sliger sitting in those same two season ticket seats for over 100 years,” Jeff said.
It was at UT that Jan discovered her life calling at 8 years old when she visited the Speech and Hearing Center on the Knoxville campus with her family after Jeff had an accident that affected his throat.
“Automatically, I knew I was going to grow up and be a speech therapist,” she said of that visit. “Here 38 years later, I’m a speech pathologist graduated from the University of Tennessee.”
And here is where the story of community comes full circle, bringing in the next generation.
Mae Ann’s daughter, Charli Ann Shillings, interned with Jan, learning about speech therapy until COVID-19 moved the internship online. After Charlie Ann graduated from UT Knoxville in May, Jan recruited the recent graduate to work in the Roane County schools.
“I think it goes back to that sense of community. Everywhere you look, UT is there—and not just for me,” said Charlie Ann, who performed in the color guard with Pride of the Southland. “You meet lifelong friends at UT and everywhere you look, you see Volunteers and everyone is just always there to help you.”
Her brother, Gabe Shillings, a senior and member of ROTC, agreed regarding the community formed throughout UT.
“I think it just brings the nickname Vol out. It’s being a full community and circle of help for everyone,” he said.
In Harriman, UT’s mural celebrates a circle of education and community.
“It brings more of that home feeling back in and I think that’s what UT is,” Harriman Mayor Wayne Best said about the University of Tennessee System’s latest mural in the on-going campaign. “It’s like a big home and it’s expanding out and bringing more in.”
A dedication of the mural is planned for Nov. 11 and will be live streamed for community members to watch live.
UT is on a mission to paint a mural in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties, reminding travelers from Memphis to Mountain City of UT’s statewide presence and impact. Since the campaign’s launch in 2018, 10 murals have been completed in Knox, Weakley, Shelby, Sullivan, Greene, Gibson, Houston, Sumner, Trousdale and Meigs counties.
To learn more about the campaign, each location and to nominate a canvas for use, visit https://everywhere.tennessee.edu/murals/.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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