Howard Baker Leads Stonecipher Symposium's Exploration of "The Legacy of TVA"

As Congress debates the Tennessee Valley Authority's future funding and deregulation, Tennessee Technological University will explore TVA's 66-year influence on the area's people, its history and its land March 22-24.

The university's Stonecipher Symposium on Technology, Communication and Culture, "The Legacy of the Tennessee Valley Authority," will provide a forum for speakers, discussion groups and audience members to investigate TVA's contributions and controversies.

Former U.S. Senator and Reagan White House Chief of Staff Howard Baker Jr. will present the featured keynote address. Baker will speak 8-9 p.m., Monday, March 22, in the university's Derryberry Hall Auditorium.

Participation by TVA leaders, including a keynote address by Kathryn Jackson, TVA's executive vice president of river system operations and environment, will provide the corporation's latest view of its accomplishments and outlook. Beyond its original duties of securing flood control, navigation, cheap electricity and economic development for the Tennessee Valley, TVA influences global attitudes about producing energy and maintaining responsibility to consumers and the environment.

The Stonecipher Symposium will also provide a rare, comprehensive look at the how communities were historically and socially affected by TVA's relocation policies and the advent of cheap electricity. On Tuesday, TVA curator Michael Dobrogosz will present a slide show to explain the overwhelming changes that took place on many homes and farms during TVA's rapid growth. A panel discussion also will be held on the historical and sociological impacts of TVA.

Before TVA, 97 percent of the Tennessee Valley region was without electricity. As the nation's largest electricity producer, TVA now provides electricity to 7.3 million customers. With such growth arose environmental and conservation issues that will be addressed in a panel discussion and in Jackson's Tuesday afternoon address.

University of Tennessee historian Bruce Wheeler will end Tuesday's session with an address entitled, "A Love Affair Gone Sour: TVA and the American Left." On Wednesday, a morning discussion will focus on deregulation, followed by a closing address about TVA's future by William Museler, TVA transmission and power supply group executive vice president.

Other events scheduled during the symposium include an exhibit of cultural artifacts from TVA's Historic Collection, a Monday afternoon community forum and student presentations.

For a complete calendar of events, visit the Stonecipher web site at For more information, call 931-372-3046.

All events are free and open to the public. The symposium is sponsored by the university's Terry Martin Stonecipher Fund of the College of Arts and Sciences; the College of Engineering; Tennessee Tech's Water, Electric Power and Manufacturing Research Centers and Volunteer Electric Cooperative.