Congratulations to the Class of 2024!  What a great accomplishment.  Your hard work, determination, and perseverance have paid off.  Whether you are heading into a career or continuing your education, I wish you the best of luck.  Remember, you will always be part of the UTC family wherever you go.  We are very proud of you!  You are a Moc!

Commencement is an exciting time for everyone at UTC—our graduates and their families, faculty, staff, alums and the extended campus community.  During the University’s 263rd commencement ceremonies on Friday and Saturday, more than 1,300 undergraduates and nearly 300 graduate students will receive their degrees.

Thank you to the faculty members who have agreed to serve as marshals during commencement and our staff who volunteer to help.  It means so much to our graduates to have you in attendance.  You have been a huge part of our students’ lives and make a difference.  You help bring out the best in our students.

A Transformational Investment:  The FY2025 state budget approved by the Tennessee General Assembly will fund the expansion of Fletcher Hall, home to the Gary W. Rollins College of Business.  This project would not be possible without the generosity of Gary and Kathleen Rollins.  With an additional $30 million gift to the College of Business, their support will allow us to grow the number of workforce-ready graduates for our state and region.  This is a historic investment for our campus and the Chattanooga community.

Campus Goals: Last week, I shared a follow-up communication on divisional goals.  I hope you take a moment to review the areas that campus leaders and departments are focusing on over the remainder of 2024.

Community Service Award:  Earlier this week, SGA President Chamyra Teasley was the recipient of the Harold Love Outstanding Community Service Award, given by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission to 10 individuals in higher education throughout the state who demonstrate a lasting, meaningful impact through service.  I have had the pleasure of meeting regularly with Chamyra over the past year to discuss issues of interest to students, and I have found her to be a very mature, articulate, compassionate student leader.  She is an outstanding student who has had a positive impact on the UTC campus and the Chattanooga community, and I am so happy that she has won the recognition she so richly deserves.

Celebrating Student Success:  It is so exciting for the University community when our students receive national merit-based competitive awards that offer financial support and invaluable and unique opportunities.  I am so proud of the following students, and I want to thank all of you who have had a hand in their academic journeys and success:

  • Graduating senior Emma Sprayberry (Innovations in Honors, humanities: international studies and Spanish) was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Taiwan. Later this year, she will travel to Taiwan to teach English while representing the U.S. as a cultural ambassador.
  • Junior Emma Roy (Brock Scholar, secondary education: political science) will spend the 2024-2025 academic year at National Taiwan University in an immersive Chinese language program after winning the Boren Scholarship.
  • Graduating senior Lauren Graves (Brock Scholar, English) is heading to Japan as part of the Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET) program, which brings university graduates to Japan as assistant language teachers.
  • Sophomore Vinny Nguyen (political science) won the CLS Spark, a virtual initiative for U.S. undergraduate students to learn languages essential to America’s engagement with the world. He will spend eight weeks this summer in an online course learning Mandarin Chinese.

Let’s Go Mocs!:  Congratulations to head coach Darin Van Horn and the Mocs beach volleyball team on earning the program’s first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.  The Mocs won the Ohio Valley Conference postseason championship after finishing the regular season as conference co-champions.

Looking Back:  The Mocs Top 10 video series was a fun look back at the 2023-2024 academic year, and just some of the many highlights we experienced as a campus this year.  I am humbled to be your Chancellor and highly appreciative of all you do to impact our students’ success. Thank you for making this a special year.


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