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Chancellor’s Update

Commencement is the best day of the semester for everyone at UTC: graduates and their families, faculty, staff, alumni and the extended UTC community.  Our spring commencement ceremonies Friday, May 6, and Saturday, May 7, will recognize the academic achievements of approximately 1,500 undergraduate and graduate students.  Congratulations to every graduate!

I would like to recognize and thank our five commencement speakers, as they deserve special appreciation for what will undoubtedly be distinctive and outstanding messages to the graduates:

  • Friday, 2:30 p.m., Graduate School: Mina Sartipi, Director of the Center for Urban Informatics and Progress, Guerry Professor in Computational Science and UC Foundation Professor
  • Saturday, 9 a.m., College of Arts and Sciences (last name beginning A-K): Gregory O’Dea, Associate Dean of the Honors College and UC Foundation Professor in English
  • Saturday, 1 p.m., College of Engineering and Computer Science and Rollins College of Business: Thomas Lyons, Clarence E. Harris Chair of Excellence in Entrepreneurship and Professor of Marketing and Entrepreneurship
  • Saturday, 4 p.m., College of Health, Education and Professional Studies: Christine Benz Smith, UC Foundation Professor, Director of the School of Nursing and Chief Health Affairs Officer
  • Saturday, 7 p.m., College of Arts and Sciences (last name beginning L-Z): Tammy Garland, Professor of Criminal Justice and Faculty Senate President.

You can read more about the speakers and featured graduates on the UTC Newsroom web page.

The Student Government Association deserves special recognition for making this week’s ceremonies even more memorable.  The Chamberlain Field “Power C” was looking a bit worn, so the SGA provided funding to paint it so our May graduates could take pictures with a bright shiny “Power C.”  Thank you very much!

I have enjoyed working with our SGA Leadership this year, especially President Taylor Bradshaw.  The position of SGA President is a time-consuming, demanding one.  Taylor has balanced this with classes and other commitments, like being an RA, doing an internship, and meeting regularly with various campus constituents.  She has spoken up for the needs of students and, at the same time, has been wonderful to work with.  I know we will see great things from Taylor in the future!

Takeo Suzuki, executive director for the Center for Global Education, and the UTC Student Government Association worked together to create a Global Response Assistantship for international students impacted by the Ukraine crisis.

The UTC ROTC and the Tennessee Army National Guard hosted an Educator Flights event on campus, with two Black Hawk helicopters at the center of the festivities.

Congratulations to the UTC PodLab, led by Will Davis, on being selected as one of just six sites in the country to host “One Small Step” by StoryCorps, the National Public Radio-affiliated nonprofit that records, preserves and shares stories from everyday Americans.  The UTC PodLab, a student podcasting studio for training the next generation of professional podcasters, will be utilized as one of StoryCorps’ production sites.

What an exciting time for Mocs football offensive lineman Cole Strange!  Cole became the first player in program history to be picked in the first round of the NFL draft—and the first Southern Conference player drafted in the opening round since 1974—when the New England Patriots called his name with the 29th overall selection.  Kudos to Cole and all of the academic and athletic staff members he worked with at UTC.

Congratulations to Dorota Zalewska on becoming the seventh Moc in program history to win the Southern Conference Women’s Golf Championship.  In the process, she earned an automatic NCAA Tournament bid, which begins next week.  Dorota is just the third Moc to have at least three tournament victories during her time as a UTC student-athlete.

What a pleasure it was to sit down with past UTC chancellors James Drinnon and Fred Obear earlier this week.  Dr. Drinnon, who served as chancellor from 1973 through 1981, returned to UTC for the first time in nearly 40 years.  He had the opportunity to see his portrait that hangs alongside the other University leaders in the Roth Grand Reading Room and met for an oral history project with University Archivist Noah Lasley. 

Congratulations to our Theatre and Performing Arts students, faculty and staff for the outstanding production of The Threepenny Opera!  My family and I were so impressed with the quality of the production and the enthusiasm of the students.

A huge thanks to all who attended last month’s Staff Appreciation Brunch on Chamberlain Field, hosted by the Executive Leadership Team.  Whether or not you were able to enjoy the event, please know how much we value all you do!



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