What a GREAT Commencement!!!
I would like to thank everyone involved in putting together another incredible commencement weekend. Our two ceremonies were memorable and went off without a hitch. We are indebted to all of the faculty members and staff volunteers who gave up their Saturday to make it an extra special day for our students and their families. Thank you!!
One of the best parts of my job is to shake the hand and look into the eyes of each graduate as they walk off the stage. My hand is obviously sore by the end of the second ceremony, but so are my cheek muscles from smiling so much. What a thrill! Commencement is a wonderful time to reflect on the importance of what we do each and every day – we provide the opportunity and environment for our students to learn, to mature, to be critical thinkers, and to believe in themselves. When our students leave UTC, they are ready to take on the big problems, those problems that seem impossible. It is so inspiring to see the culmination of our efforts as a campus community as we acknowledge the achievements of our students at commencement.
You may not have realized it, but at 1,390 graduates, our Spring 2016 graduating class was the largest in UTC history. This represents a 28% increase since Spring 2012 commencement. We awarded the following degrees: 1162 Bachelors, 186 Masters, 31 Doctoral, and 11 certificates.
Last weekend we also held a special event to acknowledge the accomplishments of our alumni and supporters. At our Legends and Leaders banquet Friday evening, we awarded UTC alumnus Scott LeRoy the 2016 Outstanding Service Award and Mr. Davon Maharaj the 2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award. Mr. Maharaj, who is the Publisher and Editor of the Los Angeles Times, delivered the commencement address at both ceremonies.
As you may be aware, the Tennessee General Assembly recently passed a bill that allows faculty and staff members who have a state-issued gun carry permit to bring their weapons onto Tennessee’s college campuses beginning July 1st.
Some of you have expressed concern about having more guns on campus. I share your concern and assure you that we are working closely with UT System President Joe DiPietro as guidelines for implementing this new law are developed. The Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police has been discussing options with UT and Tennessee Board of Regents officials to maximize campus safety and still fulfill the requirements of the legislation.
UTC remains committed to providing the safest campus environment possible for all while we comply with the new law. If you have other questions or concerns, please contact Robie Robinson, UTC’s Executive Director of Public Safety, at 4167 or Robie-Robinson@utc.edu.
Finally, UTC needs you to help us turn freshman move-in into a WELCOME CELEBRATION!
I am encouraging everyone on campus to take part in OPERATION MOVE-IN. We need faculty, staff, students, alumni and community partners to help welcome our newest Mocs to campus.
If you can carry boxes, give directions or simply share a smile and make our newcomers feel at home – we need your help. Academic and administrative departments, as well as student groups, can also “adopt a residence hall.” Please participate if you can. I will be there, and I hope you will be too. You can sign up online here.