Olympic gold medalist and equestrian sport commentator Melanie Smith Taylor has made a generous donation to the University of Tennessee — Martin.
Taylor announced that upon her death, her 350-acre Wildwood Farm in Germantown will become the property of the university. Valued at nearly $80 million, the farm is the largest gift ever made to the UT system.
Wildwood Farm will be preserved in its current state and will become a “living classroom” for students in veterinary health technology and agricultural studies to get hands-on learning. High school students at nearby Collierville and Germantown High may also be able to participate through dual enrollment programs.
“The decision was really laid out by Lee, my late husband,” Taylor told WREG Memphis, News Channel 3. “Lee had such an interest in science and education and the land and animals and to think that this could continue to be a place for people to enjoy and to learn and for future generations to be part of this place.”
As the largest undeveloped tract of land in Germantown, Wildwood Farm, once home to more than 150 horses, will evolve to serve the community.