I want to thank everyone for working so hard to protect our campus community. It takes a total team effort to keep the UTC campus safe, and we all must keep doing what we need to do. Wear your face masks, maintain social distancing and wash your hands. This is no time to get complacent.
Founder’s Week 2020 has been celebrated with a series of virtual events due to COVID-19, but it still is an inspiring week as we celebrate our University’s 134th birthday. On Sept. 15, 1886, Chattanooga University opened its doors for the first time with an enrollment of 118. I will give the annual State of the University speech at noon tomorrow, Sept. 18 – you can watch online here. I want to thank our staff, faculty and students whose hard work has ensured that virtual Founder’s Week activities have taken place smoothly.
Our virtual Faculty Awards Celebration reception and program is this evening (Sept. 17). We will recognize our faculty members for their accomplishments in teaching, research, service and student advising. It is an honor to work with such fine educators who bring out the best in our students and prepare them to take on the world. Thank you.
We will honor staff and faculty through the Service Awards program, recognizing employees for reaching service milestones in five-year increments. This year we have two 50-year Service Award recipients: Ralph Hood (psychology) and Sue Stephens (facilities). Five decades at one institution is an incredible accomplishment! You can watch here the virtual celebration of the Service Award honorees beginning tomorrow (Sept. 18).
It has been an honor to recognize the recipients of Blue Ribbon Awards, and you can read about the award-winning recipients for the first six months of 2020. Even though we cannot host a Blue Ribbon Award luncheon this fall, these individuals who have gone above-and-beyond in supporting the UTC campus deserve special recognition. Their work defines this University, as they truly go the extra mile.
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and I want to remind the campus community about resources available for students who are experiencing life changes and severe challenges. A new 24/7 hotline, UTC CARES, has been created for students experiencing a mental health emergency or having suicidal thoughts. This hotline number—423-425-CARE (2273)—will provide students an opportunity to speak with a licensed professional who can offer emotional support.
We have great news to share. Despite the pandemic, UTC enrollment for Fall 2020 has grown by 106 to 11,696 students—an increase of 0.9%. On behalf of the Executive Leadership Team, I want to thank everyone at UTC for their outstanding work in retention and recruitment.
Although Southern Conference sports are not taking place this fall, the Mocs women’s volleyball program had the opportunity to compete last weekend—with triumphant results. Congratulations on a thrilling five-set victory over Georgia State at Maclellan Gymnasium. Go Mocs!
Looking ahead, a reminder that the Spring 2021 semester will have a more condensed academic calendar following a similar approach taken this fall. Spring classes will begin on Jan. 19 and end on April 26—with no spring break—and final exams will take place April 28-May 4.