Congratulations on a Great Year
The end of the academic year is almost here, and Commencement is right around the corner. The campus should be proud with all that we have accomplished. It has been a great one.
Last week, UTC partnered with our neighbors in the MLK community to celebrate the rededication of the James R. Mapp building. It’s the new home for our Physical and Occupational Therapy programs, but the building represents something much greater.
Mr. Mapp was a change-maker who bravely fought for civil rights and equal treatment for African Americans. He spent 16 years as President of the Chattanooga Chapter of the NAACP and also served as NAACP Tennessee President and Chairman of the Southeast Region. He dedicated his life to equality for all, and we celebrated his legacy. See more at https://youtu.be/Ojz8xz6zKwY.
Earlier this month we held an open forum where we discussed free speech and campus diversity. The forum followed the chalking incident, which helped shine a light on the campus experiences of our underrepresented minority students. I truly appreciate the honesty and passion expressed by the students who attended the forum, but it’s important that – as a campus – we continue having conversations about these very important issues. We are working to develop meaningful opportunities for students to engage and continue the dialogue. By the time students return in the fall, we will have a set of activities planned. I welcome any suggestions you might have.
I hope you had a chance to check out the 2016 Research Dialogues event, which took place in the UC on April 13th and 14th. I was so impressed by the outstanding research being done by our faculty and students. The event also included 3-Minute Thesis and 5-Minute Elevator Pitch competitions, where students and faculty had limited time to explain their research in plain English. Congratulations to our Vice Chancellor for Research Joanne Romagni and her team. And thank you to everyone who participated and volunteered.
Things can get a bit crazy on campus when the freshman class arrives and moves into the residence halls. This fall, we want to turn the day into a WELCOME CELEBRATION called OPERATION MOVE-IN, and we hope every person at UTC will take part. We want faculty, staff, students, alumni and community partners to help welcome our newest Mocs to campus. We need volunteers to help carry boxes, give directions, or just take time to meet and talk with our newest students and their families. Academic and administrative departments, as well as student groups, can “adopt a residence hall.” I encourage everyone to participate. I will be there; how about you? You can sign up online here.
This month was filled with many other activities we captured on video, such as our Earth Week Celebration, a creative Rube Goldberg project by our engineering students, and the Send Silence Packing exhibit. We’ve also shared some exciting research stories about pregnancy discrimination and self-assembling carbon nanotubes.
Finally, congratulations to all of our 2016 graduates. I look forward to shaking your hand at commencement on May 7th. Have a great summer!