Nearly 500 students will walk across the stage during summer commencement on August 13. State Senator Bo Watson will also be on hand to offer his personal congratulations as graduation speaker.

To view the commencement ceremony live, click here.


Bo Watson

Watson graduated magna cum laude from UTC in 1983 with a B.A. in Biology.  He received his education and training in physical therapy at the University of Tennessee Center for Health Sciences in Memphis, Tennessee, and has been a practicing physical therapist for 26 years.  He is currently the Director of Sports Medicine and Business Development at HCA-Parkridge Medical Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Watson has been married to Jill Lippse Watson for 26 years.  Jill is a 1983 graduate of UTC with a B.S. in Psychology, and their one son, Grey, is a 2009 UTC graduate with a B.S. in Political Science.  The Watson-Lippse family tree has had 19 family members attend or graduate from UTC or UC during its 125 year history.  Most recently, Watson’s nephew became the 20th to enroll.

Elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 2004, Watson served as assistant floor leader and chairman of the Republican caucus bill review.  He was elected to the Tennessee Senate In 2006 and re-elected in 2010. Watson was recently appointed to the position of Speaker Pro Tempore, a key leadership position in the Senate.

During his tenure in the Senate, Watson has served as Republican Floor Leader, Chairman of the Senate Government Operations Committee, Secretary of the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, Vice-Chairman TennCare Oversight Committee, Member of the Education Oversight  Committee, Chairman of the Hamilton County Legislative Delegation, Member  of Southern Legislative Conference finance committee, he was named “Legislator of the Year” by various organizations, and was recently selected as one of 49 legislators from across the United States to attend the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business’  “Emerging Leaders” program.

Watson credits his work ethic, research skills and emphasis on preparation to his father’s wisdom and the higher education he received at UTC.

“My father and my professors inspired in me a desire to learn and study, to think critically, and to remember that the quest for knowledge is a life-long experience,” he said.

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