Welcome back! I hope everyone had an enjoyable winter break and is re-energized and ready to start a new semester. And a big “Hello” to all of our new Mocs. Welcome to UTC!
We had wonderful celebratory events to end the fall semester, saying goodbye to the nearly 800 undergraduate and graduate students who participated in the University’s 254th commencement ceremonies at McKenzie Arena. One of the highlights was congratulating Chris Land, who survived a horrific car accident as a teenager and received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Using crutches, Chris walked across the stage while receiving a standing ovation from the arena crowd. If you have not heard about his touching story, please click here and here.
Welcome to Victoria “Vicki” Farnsworth, who joins us as our Vice Chancellor for Information Technology and CIO. She comes to UTC from Purdue University, and today is her first day on the job. Vicki is an experienced IT leader with over 25 years of academic experience in higher education.
Yes, it is indeed that time again. Cindy Williamson, our SACSCOC liaison, will soon be reaching out to all faculty and staff as we prepare for reaffirmation of our accreditation. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. Accreditation is required for us to offer degrees. UTC’s reaffirmation process is kicking off this month, and we will need everyone’s help. It is imperative we all do everything we can to assist Cindy and her staff when they reach out to you.
Congratulations to Dr. Debbie Ingram, a founding faculty member of the UTC physical therapy department, and Terry Denniston, the Chief of Staff for the Chancellor’s Office and former director of alumni affairs for the university, who were both named to the All-Southern Conference team of distinguished faculty and staff. Debbie and Terry were selected for demonstrating exceptional service to UTC and their ongoing contributions to campus life and the community. They are shining examples of what makes UTC special.
The search for the new Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences continues to move forward. We have a strong pool of candidates, and initial interviews will begin in mid-February. We are anticipating that the new Dean will start in June. I want to thank the Search Committee members for the great work they are doing.
A big round of applause goes out to Mocs football players Bryce Nunnelly and Ailym Ford. Nunnelly has a 3.81 GPA in mechanical engineering and earned Academic All-America honors from the Collegiate Sports Information Directors of America. Bryce also earned all-conference honors on the field for the second time. Ford finished fifth in the voting for the 2019 Jerry Rice Award, which goes to the Football Championship Subdivision national freshman of the year. Ailym was just the second UTC player ever to place in the Top 10. What a tremendous honor for both! Go Mocs!