Congratulations to the Class of 2024!  Commencement is always a memorable occasion but this year’s ceremonies in a loud and boisterous McKenzie Arena were especially spectacular.  Seeing all the happy graduates and the excitement of their families and friends served as a reminder of the impact each of us has on the lives of our students.  Thank you to the staff, faculty, volunteers and commencement speakers who worked so hard to make each ceremony a memorable occasion for our graduates.

A New Beginning.  Saying goodbye to the Class of 2024 means saying hello to the next generation of Mocs.  Orientation sessions will take place throughout the summer with the first one next week on May 22.  Operation Move-In begins Thursday, August 15.  I encourage all of you to volunteer to assist with welcoming our incoming first-year college students, transfer students and their families to UTC.

A Huge Shout Out.  A big round of applause to everyone involved in getting the campus back and up-to-speed following last week’s power outage.  Members of the UTC family—from facilities to IT to public safety and police to all parts of our University—worked around the clock to restore normal operations.  You all truly showed your Moc spirit.

High Fives to the Gilman Five.  A school record-tying five UTC students, Ashlyn Roberson, Bailee Fiste, Bryce Sanders, Kamila Vargas and Kylie Knott, are recipients of U.S. Department of State Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships.  The significance of the Gilman Scholarship lies in its ability to make international experiences accessible to a broader range of students, and applicants must be receiving a Federal Pell Grant.  What terrific international education opportunities for our students!

Cultivating a Culture of Innovation.  Congratulations to Biology, Geology and Environmental Science Associate Professor Azad Hossain and Computer Science and Engineering Professor Hong Qin on award funding of $299,998 from NASA for the project titled “Remote Sensing of Water Quality in the Tennessee River.”  This was UTC’s first-ever research award from NASA!

Creating the Mocs Experience.  The first year of University High will soon come to an end.  Kudos to everyone involved in University High, from Principal Arielle Hayes and the University High faculty to the 55 students to the members of the UTC community engaged in this vital program helping Hamilton County High School students get a head start on a college degree.  We look forward to seeing the students return to campus in the fall for their senior year, as well as introducing the next cohort of high school juniors to the UTC experience.

Thanks, Dean Liedtka.  I want to thank Theresa Liedtka for her outstanding leadership as dean of the UTC Library.  Theresa, who is transitioning out of her position to take on different responsibilities in Academic Affairs, has been the face of the UTC Library since arriving on campus in 2004.  I am excited to collaborate with Theresa in her new role and to greet Tim Gritten when he becomes library dean in July.

Let’s Go Mocs!  What a terrific spring for our Athletics Department.  The softball team won its 16th SoCon Tournament title and is heading to the NCAA Tournament.  The men’s golf team went to the NCAA Golf Regionals for the 14th time in program history.  The beach volleyball team went to the NCAA Tournament for the first time.  Mocs student-athletes had a cumulative 3.318 overall GPA, with every program posting a 3.0 or higher team GPA.  And 68 current and former student-athletes participated in commencement ceremonies.  Go Mocs!

The Final C-Note of 2023-2024.  On behalf of the UTC Leadership Team, I want to thank you for your hard work and dedication to putting students first through creativity, ingenuity, flexibility and hard work.  I hope you can relax and recharge over the summer.  Have a wonderful summer!


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