Scholarly Men in Action

By Tia Kalmon

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) – Scholarly Men in Action have set a goal to raise graduation rates among men at UTC.

Cameron Armstrong, UTC Senior and founding member said, the organization began when members realized a need for a strong alliance. They looked at graduation statistics and noticed a trend. So they decided to form an organization that focused on leadership, brotherhood, academics, financial support and mentorship for college males.

According to, only 16-percent of UTC students graduate in four years and 37-percent graduate in six years. In comparison, all public universities in the state of Tennessee have a graduation rate of 20-percent in four years and 46-percent in six years.

Scholarly Men in Action posing in front of the Chattanooga sign for a Christmas card.

Scholarly Men in Action are trying to change that. They want to encourage the knowledge in men, so they can cross the stage and turn their tassels.

“They tutor me for English writing because I’m an English major,” Armstrong said. “They will help me review a paper I have or help me in another subject like a general education course like Spanish. We have a member who speaks Spanish, so that really helps me out and personal support as well.”

Each week, this group of men meet on campus to discuss how they are doing. They encourage each other to stay in school and follow their dreams.

“Everybody in this organization are like brothers because we all hang out, do community service together, we have conversations together, and sometimes we make cookies together,” Mark Gilbert, UTC sophomore, said.  “It’s the brotherhood aspect of it that’s really appealing.”

Not only do they want to make a difference on campus, but they also want to make a difference in the community. Scholarly Men in Action participate in many community service projects. They have plans to work more with the community this semester.

A Christmas card from SMIA.

Gilbert said, “this semester, every Friday, we are going to work with BCM, Baptist Collegiate Ministries, and serve food to the homeless downtown and also we will be working with the Office of Disabilities, mentoring disabled students.”

“We are a diverse organization and we are open to all types of minorities whether that be race or religion, whatever major and we will accept everybody and welcome anybody who is willing to join,” Armstrong said.

These men meet every Sunday at 3 p.m. in the Ocoee Room on the third floor of the UC.

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  1. Adrie Brown says:

    What is the contact information for the S.M.I.A.? I work at a tutoring center for inner city kids and I have a volunteer opportunity available that would allow the S.M.I.A. to encourage learning in future generations.

  2. Mark Gilbert says:

    Hi, I’m Mark Gilbert, the upcoming president of SMIA. You can contact me at 615-609-3089. The current president, Tommy Rayford can be contacted at 423-298-1572.