The Roundhouse—aka McKenzie Arena—boomed with excitement Friday morning as thousands of incoming first-year students at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga gathered for Convocation 2022.
A hype squad helped fire up the crowd and featured members of the UTC band, the Sugar Mocs, the Ladies of Gold, the cheerleading squad and emcee Terrence Banks, assistant director of recruitment and engagement.
“First college lesson: Use your resources,” Banks decreed after a student came down to the arena floor for a quick game of UTC trivia with him, getting a little help from nearby UTC administrators for the correct answer.
Mallary Quaderer, a senior majoring in exercise science, taught the crowd the UTC fight song. The men’s and women’s basketball coaches, Dan Earl and Shawn Poppie, respectively, urged students to attend upcoming games in the arena, which also serves as the location for UTC commencement ceremonies.
Chancellor Steve Angle addressed the crowd, most of whom had moved into their residence halls earlier in the week and exuded a combination of excitement and nervousness.
“We’re here because we care about you and we want to see you be successful and make a difference in your life,” said Angle, who has led UTC for nearly a decade.
Angle advised them to ask questions, get involved, establish connections with other students, faculty and community members and tap into their potential to change the world.
“We’re proud to be Mocs and you’ll have a community surrounding you with alumni and the community of Chattanooga that is hopefully going to make you it difficult for you to go somewhere else when you finish your education,” Angle said.
“You really can make a difference and you will. Don’t underestimate your power.”
Convocation was immediately followed by First Class, another first-year student event on “how to college.”
Sponsored by Read to Achieve and Student Success Programs, First Class focused on college success tips—for both in and outside the classroom—and introduced students to basics like a course syllabus and, more importantly, how to read it and why it’s important
“We’re cultivating a culture of investing in our students in those first weeks, even before Welcome Week, and letting them know we’re here for them now and throughout the year,” said Crystal Edenfield, director of Student Success Programs.
“If we can start that culture at the very beginning, it makes it easier for them to engage in class, talk to people face-to-face and just get a little bit of help,” she said.