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Chancellor’s Update

Commencement is the best time of year for everyone at UTC—our graduates and their families, faculty, staff, alums and the extended campus community.  The University’s 261st commencement ceremonies Friday and Saturday will recognize the academic achievements of more than 1,500 undergraduate and graduate students.

Congratulations, graduates!  You have reached a significant milestone in life through hard work, determination, and perseverance.  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!  Go Mocs!

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.  You can read more about the speakers and featured graduates by visiting the UTC Newsroom:

  • Friday, 11 a.m.: Janelle Reilly, chief executive officer, CHI Memorial Health System, Livestream link
  • Friday, 3 p.m.: Dr. Bryan Johnson, chief transformation officer, U.S. Xpress, Inc., Livestream link
  • Saturday, 9 a.m.: Charles Wood, president and chief executive officer, Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, Livestream link
  • Saturday, 1 p.m.: Dr. Chandra Ward, UTC assistant professor of sociology, Livestream link
  • Saturday, 4 p.m.: Randy Boyd, Randy Boyd, president, University of Tennessee System, Livestream link

The Student Government Association is the largest student advocacy group on campus and aims to make UTC a welcoming campus environment for students from all backgrounds.  I am excited to have the opportunity to interact with the newly elected SGA executives and senators for the 2023-2024 academic year, including President Chamyra Teasley and Vice President Braden Stillwell.

I have enjoyed working with SGA President Delali Gadzekpo and Vice President Marissa Lott over the past year and look forward to learning about their future successes.  Marissa was recently awarded the Chancellor’s Blue and Gold Award of Excellence—given annually to a student exemplifying what it means to be an outstanding student member of the UTC campus community.

The new UTC Research Institute, headed by Dr. Mina Sartipi, will help UTC move forward and realize our research goals.  The heart of the institute is impactful and broad cross-disciplinary research that will help fast-track Chattanooga’s place as a hub for mobility electrifications, connectivity and automation.  Dr. Sartipi and the Center for Urban Informatics and Progress’ history of innovative, cutting-edge research and collaborative teamwork illustrates how UTC is preparing our community for the future.

I wish College of Engineering and Computer Science Dean Daniel Pack all the best as he departs for Baylor University.  Dr. Pack has been a valuable contributor to UTC’s success since joining the University in 2016.  He has significantly raised the college’s research profile, resulting in high-impact learning opportunities for students, cutting-edge research by faculty members, and a growing reputation for UTC.  He has initiated new degree programs like the Bachelor of Applied Science in Mechatronics and the Bachelor of Applied Science in Information Technology in Cybersecurity—both directly addressing workforce needs.  We are grateful for the service and impact he brought to UTC.

UTC is a co-sponsor and host of the upcoming CO.MOBILITY Summit, which will take place May 9-11 in the University Center.  The summit, powered by CO.LAB—the Chattanooga-based nonprofit accelerating early-stage startups in the sustainable mobility space—will offer attendees the opportunity to learn about the latest advancements in electric and autonomous vehicles, Smart City innovations, freight technology and quantum tech.  The event is free to the UTC campus community; secure your free admission by clicking here, then click on “Get My Ticket” and enter promo code MOCS at checkout.

Kudos to everyone involved in creating University High, a new program headquartered at UTC—and starting this fall—designed to help Hamilton County High School students get a head start on a college degree.  A capacity crowd, including the program’s initial students and their families, recently came to campus for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony.  The first cohort of students, coming from 10 different Hamilton County schools, had the chance to meet their future classmates, teachers and advisors and learn about the Power C.  What a terrific event!

During the second half of May, UTC representatives will attend Hamilton County Schools’ middle school graduations and present the eighth-grade graduates with “Middle School to Mocs” certificates.  This is a tremendous opportunity to get these students and their families thinking about what happens after high school and ensure UTC is already on their radar.  What a terrific initiative!

Congratulations to the school-record seven Mocs football players who earned 2023 Hampshire Honor Society membership from the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.  The group includes punter/kickoff specialist Gabe Boring, offensive lineman McClendon Curtis, quarterback Preston Hutchinson, wide receiver Andrew Manning, punter Jason Pierce, kicker Aaron Sears and defensive back CaMiron Smith.  Go Mocs!

On behalf of the Executive Leadership Team, I would like to thank all of you who were able to attend the recent Staff Appreciation Brunch and the Administrative Professionals Appreciation Breakfast.  Please know how much we value and appreciate all you do!


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