The Final Stretch.  This academic year has flown by, and the end of the spring semester is almost here.  Monday (April 22) is the last day of classes and final exams take place April 24-April 30.  To our students who will graduate at the end of the spring or summer terms, Congratulations!  We are proud of you.  For our students about to embark on internships, travel abroad experiences, or just taking time off to relax, have a great summer!

Commencement is a truly special time for our campus.  Graduate student commencement is Friday, May 3, at 2:30 p.m. in McKenzie Arena.  Undergraduate commencement is Saturday, May 4, at 9 a.m. for the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering and Computer Science; commencement for the Gary W. Rollins College of Business and the College of Health, Education and Professional Studies is at 1 p.m.  UTC alum Richard Zhang, who graduated summa cum laude with bachelor’s degrees in chemistry, economics and accounting, will speak at both undergraduate ceremonies.  Dr. Edna Varner, a UC Foundation Board of Trustee and longtime member of the Public Education Foundation, will deliver the charge at the graduate ceremony.  Congratulations to our graduates who have worked so hard to complete their degrees!

A Big Thank You.  A big round of applause to everyone involved in bringing the McKenzie Arena construction project in on time.  I am so excited to see the arena back at full capacity for the undergraduate commencement ceremonies for the first time since the pre-COVID days.  It’s going to be loud and exciting as our graduates cross the stage.

UTC SGA Rocks!  We are so lucky to have a talented group of students participating in student government.  This year has been a particularly active one – thanks to all the student senators and leadership.  I have especially enjoyed working with SGA President Chamyra Teasley, Vice President Braden Stillwell and Treasurer Aria Beloate over the past year and look forward to following their future successes.  I look forward to interacting with the newly elected SGA executives and senators for the 2024-2025 academic year, including President Jordan Fall, Vice President Rachel Schreur and Treasurer Curel Jones.

Smart City Award.  Just launched in 2023, both the Quantum Initiative and the UTC Research Institute were recently selected as winners in IDC Government Insights’ seventh annual Smart Cities North America Awards.  Both won honors in the award program’s education category for efforts to facilitate smart campus and smart classroom education and engagement opportunities and for robust engagement and outreach efforts via virtual, online and remote-participation platforms.

Research on the Rise.  Kudos to all of our students, faculty and staff who participated in this year’s Spring Research and Arts Conference!  More than 650 students, faculty and staff presented their research results at our campus’ largest academic conference, with 290 unique presentations.

Cultivating a Culture of Innovation.  Congratulations to a pair of recent UTC chemistry and physics graduates, Christine Rukeyser and Bre-Anna Willis, on being awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.  Rukeyser, who received a bachelor’s degree last December, will start a Ph.D. program at Northwestern University in the fall.  Willis, a December 2022 graduate, is now a Ph.D. student at the University of Connecticut.

Welcome, Coach D:  A big “GO MOCS” to new UTC Women’s Head Basketball Coach Deandra Schirmer.  She joins UTC following a five-year stint as head coach at Valdosta State University, where her teams amassed an impressive 114-31 record and four NCAA Tournament berths.


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