Welcome to the fall edition of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Magazine. Last March, the world we knew was turned upside down by COVID-19. Virtually every aspect of campus life has been altered, and our resiliency has been tested. The fact that we were able to safely open our doors this fall is a testament to every member of our UTC community. I could not be more proud to be a Moc.
COVID-19 may not be the most significant challenge this institution has faced over its 134-year history, but it has been the toughest battle we have encountered during my time as chancellor. COVID-19 forced us to make difficult yet essential decisions. Our students, faculty and staff have adapted and made the best of this truly challenging situation. In addition to a global pandemic, we have dealt with the impact of several tornados that touched down in our area and even had a wild bear wandering around campus one weekend. It is clear that 2020 is a year for the record books!
UTC exists for its students, and our response to the pandemic demonstrated our character and the value we place on the educational enterprise. We never wavered from our focus on being true to our core values, expressing who we are, what we do, and why it matters. We continue to abide by the dual guiding principles of ensuring we maintain a high-quality educational experience while protecting the health and safety of our campus community.
As you digitally “flip” through this edition of the magazine, you will see how our institution has reacted to COVID-19. In addition to the disappointment and heartbreak the pandemic has caused, there are also many positive stories from the past six months. You will read about the flexibility, adaptability, creativity and resolve of the people who are UTC. I am sure you will be as proud of them as I am.
Despite the challenges caused by the pandemic, the physical renovation of our campus continues. The stunning makeover of Lupton Hall is now complete, and once inside, you will not believe that it is the same building. Fletcher Hall, the Fine Arts Center and the Mapp Building have been upgraded and are fully operational. The Oak and Vine Street landscaping projects are complete. These and other on-going capital improvements continue to transform UTC.
I look forward to moving past social distancing and seeing our campus alive with students. The pandemic has helped us realize that we are on the right path. We are here to engage students, and that is what we have been doing. The pandemic has forced us to be more purposeful and cautious in planning events, but we have also been more creative. Goat Yoga on Chamberlain Field? Yes, it was great fun! More than ever, we realize how vital it is that our students make meaningful connections to campus and community.
COVID-19 has not destroyed us. If anything, it has strengthened our tenacity and determination. I am proud of how the students, faculty, staff, alumni and leadership team rallied around each other during this crisis. We will emerge from the pandemic united in our values and goals and even more connected to our community.
I want to thank every one of you for all you do for UTC. Together, we define what it means to be a Moc.
Steven R. Angle