Fall commencement at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga will be celebrated with three separate ceremonies taking place over two days starting Friday, Dec. 16.
All ceremonies will take place inside McKenzie Arena, beginning with graduate commencement when recipients of advanced degrees will be honored at 2:30 p.m. on Friday.
Two undergraduate commencement ceremonies will take place on Saturday, at 9 a.m. for graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences and College of Engineering and Computer Science, and at 1 p.m. for graduates of the Gary W. Rollins College of Business and College of Health, Education and Professional Studies.
Due to McKenzie Arena construction activity, Gate 1 is closed, while capacity is reduced; tickets for admission are required of all attendees. Graduation candidates will follow the ramp by the tennis courts and enter on the ground level. Family and guests will enter upstairs on the Houston Street side of the arena.
Guest parking is available for each of the ceremonies in the following lots on campus: Lot 32, 33, 34 and the Mocs Alumni Drive Garage (Lot 31). Accessible disability parking is available in Lot 20. These lots can be viewed on the parking map.
For those unable to attend, commencement ceremonies can be watched live online via web streaming.
Click here for more information and a FAQ list on fall commencement ceremonies.
2:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16
- Graduate Commencement
- Livestream link
Dr. Jerold Hale, provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs
Since arriving at UTC as provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs in June 2019, Dr. Jerold Hale has presided over 25 total commencement ceremonies as the University’s chief academic officer.
During Graduate School commencement on Friday, Dec. 16, he will also deliver the graduation charge.
“I’m looking forward to it because I’m helping them launch from what has probably been a fairly safe environment for them—whether they came back for a graduate degree or whether they went straight through from an undergraduate to a graduate program—to try to get them energized and feeling good about what their futures look like,” Hale said.
An experienced educator and administrator with nearly 40 years of service in higher education, Hale joined UTC in 2019 after spending the previous six years as dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the College of Charleston.
Before his time in Charleston, he was dean of the College of Arts, Sciences and Letters at the University of Michigan-Dearborn from 2010 to 2013. From 1991 to 2010, he was a faculty member of the Department of Speech Communication at the University of Georgia, serving as department head from 2000 to 2008.
Earlier in his career, he was an assistant professor of speech at the University of Hawaii-Mānoa from 1983 to 1984 and an assistant/associate professor of communication at Miami University (Ohio) from 1984 to 1991.
Hale has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles, and master’s and doctoral degrees in communication from Michigan State University.
Commencement, he said, is both a culmination and a public recognition of a lot of hard work.
“A very small portion of the population have advanced degrees, so it’s also recognition of their uniqueness,” Hale said.
“To have an advanced degree comes with some special responsibilities that go with it. It’s not just additional job preparation; it is the recognition that those students have achieved something very few people have. What comes along with that are responsibilities to put that degree to good use and recognize that they’re in potential leadership positions in the communities in which they live.”
9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17
- Undergraduate Commencement: College of Arts and Sciences and College of Engineering and Computer Science
- Livestream link
1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17
- Undergraduate Commencement: Gary W. Rollins College of Business and College of Health, Education and Professional Studies
- Livestream link
Dr. Michelle D. Deardorff, Adolph S. Ochs professor of government and department head of Political Science and Public Service
Dr. Michelle D. Deardorff has been a member of the UTC faculty since 2013. Her teaching and research have focused on the constitutional and statutory protections surrounding gender and race and explored the insights provided by political theory. She teaches constitutional law, judicial politics and political philosophy.
Before coming to UTC, she was a professor of political science at Jackson State, a historically black university in Mississippi, from 2003 to 2013. Her first faculty position was at Millikin University, a small private college in Illinois, from 1991 to 2003—where she served as the Griswold Distinguished Professor of Political Science for two terms.
“I think the opportunity to help our graduates come out with passion and optimism during very uncertain times and talk about, ‘What does it mean to be graduating right now,’ is very exciting,” Deardorff said. “We can be honest with each other and look at the hope that higher ed brings.
“Teaching is an act of optimism, and higher ed is a manifestation of the belief that the world can be a different place and a better place. We’re equipping students to impact the future, and I want to give them a positive, exciting vision of what that might look like as they move into the world.”
Deardorff is a founding faculty member of the Fannie Lou Hamer National Institute on Citizenship and Democracy, a coalition of academics who promote civic engagement and popular sovereignty by examining the struggle for civil rights in the United States. Her 20-year engagement with these colleagues provided pedagogical resources, workshops, tours and two museums—all designed to help K-12 educators, community college and university faculty, students and community members understand the promise of democracy.
Her current research is the manuscript Race and the Law in the United States: A Contemporary Perspective, which is under contract with Cambridge University Press and is planned for publication in 2024.
In addition, she is co-chairing a presidential task force for the American Political Science Association on rethinking political science education, the first time the discipline has revisited what it means to teach political science since 1991.
Deardorff has a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, and master’s and doctoral degrees in political science from Miami University (Ohio).