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Chancellor’s Update

Homecoming is a unique opportunity for alumni, students, staff, faculty and our community to unite and showcase our “Blue and Gold spirit.”  Welcome back to all of our alums who returned to campus this week to meet our students and participate in homecoming events.

Special thanks to everyone involved in event planning for our “UTC and Beyond” Homecoming Week, culminating with Mocs football at 4 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 7) against Western Carolina at Finley Stadium.  Come out and support our student-athletes, Marching Mocs band members, spirit squads and Scrappy.  The 2023 UTC Homecoming King and Queen and the Public Service Awards will be announced at halftime.

Leveraging Our Special Place as Chattanooga’s University

The UTC Divine Nine Heritage Park grand opening will take place tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 6) at 5:30 p.m. outside the University Center (corner of Vine Street and Terrell Owens Way).  The park includes pedestals with plaques commemorating the National Pan-Hellenic Council Greek-letter fraternities and sororities.  “Divine Nine” refers to the nine historically African American fraternities and sororities in the U.S.; eight have chapters at UTC.  I hope you can join us at the ceremony.

I want to thank everyone who participated in Tuesday’s Mocs Give Day.  While official figures are still being tallied, the early numbers are outstanding, including raising over $1.4 million. It has been heartwarming to hear about all the support from around campus.  Congratulations to the Division of Advancement staff for their exceptional work planning this important day for UTC.

The WUTC-FM Fall Pledge Drive continues through next Friday, Oct. 13.  WUTC is home to National Public Radio in our area, and more than half of the station’s funding comes from the community.  Please click here to help support the radio station.

A big thank you to all the UTC student organizations and campus departments participating in this week’s Scrappy’s Cupboard Food Fight, a competition to collect donations to help fight food insecurity.

A map developed by the UTC Interdisciplinary Geospatial Technology (IGT) Lab was vital in the city’s landing of a $6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to grow and maintain urban forests, greenspaces and waterways in Chattanooga’s disadvantaged communities.  Congratulations to Charlie Mix, Nyssa Hunt and the IGTLab team.

This week, UTC has added the Siskin Children’s Institute’s Little Miss Mag location as our third UTC Children’s Center site.  We appreciate the Siskin Children’s Institute’s decision to allow UTC to step up to help address the shortage of affordable childcare in our community.

The success of UTC’s first Spanish-speaking campus tour has led to the addition of five more tours throughout the fall. Kudos to the many people from all over campus who have worked together to demystify the college experience for parents of prospective students whose primary language is Spanish.

Creating the MOCS Experience

The Power C Tour, a statewide outreach effort to prospective students that highlights academic programs, admissions, housing, financial aid and campus life at UTC, kicks off this evening (Oct. 5) in Memphis.  Representatives from admissions, academic colleges, student services and campus leadership—along with Scrappy—will give prospective students and their families a feel for UTC.  The Power C Tour will travel to Nashville and Knoxville later this month.

Cultivating a Culture of Innovation

UT President Randy Boyd, UTK Chancellor Donde Plowman, UTC Research Institute Director Mina Sartipi and I were part of a UT delegation that visited Volkswagen in Germany.  Our goal was to expand collaboration with VW around research and developing talented workers.  We also visited two German universities who partner with VW, apprenticeship programs and research centers focused on transportation.

Mechatronics student Juan Pena (senior/Spring Hill, TN) recently traveled to the 15th International MoNe Robotic Competition in Turkey and won Best Design and Jury Special Award for robots in health care for “Pneumatic Actuated Wearable Soft Robotics System for Mirror Hand Rehabilitation.”  The design focused on a wearable hand rehabilitation system for patients who have suffered from a stroke and lost motor function.  Congratulations to Juan, May graduate Christopher Winters and Dr. Erkan Kaplanoglu on the robotics program’s first international award.

A grant from the U.S. Department of Energy will allow a collaborative team of researchers from UTC and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to produce better modeling of reactive gas transport.  A round of applause to UTC assistant professors of mechanical engineering Murat Barisik (principal investigator) and Reetesh Ranjan (co-investigator) for their work in securing the grant.

Congratulations to the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the Graduate School!  The UTC Master of Computer Science program (MSCS) has been recognized as one of the best online master’s degrees by Forbes Advisor, a leading information platform dedicated to helping consumers make educated financial choices.

Operating with Excellence

If you get a chance, make plans to see the UTC Theatre Co. production of “Blithe Spirit,” taking place at the Fine Arts Center’s Dorothy Hackett Ward Theatre through Saturday (Oct. 7).  Congratulations to the play’s director, Steve Ray, and the cast—composed entirely of UTC theatre majors—for putting on another tremendous production.

A big standing ovation to Professor Emeritus Roland Carter on receiving the 2023 Ruth Holmberg Arts Leadership Award.  Dr. Carter, an internationally renowned composer, arranger, conductor and pianist, served as a UTC music professor for 23 years before retiring in 2013.  Last fall, the section of Vine Street in front of the Fine Arts Center was renamed “Dr. Roland Carter Street” in his honor, continuing his legacy on campus.

Kudos to Dr. Kristi Wick, the Vicky B. Gregg Chair of Gerontology and UC Foundation assistant professor in the School of Nursing, and alum Suzanne Forlidas on being recognized by Women of Distinction of Greater Chattanooga as 2023 honorees.

We are closing in on the semester’s midpoint, with fall break taking place Oct. 16-17.  Enjoy the change of pace.


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