A few days after hosting accepted students and their parents at the Guerry Center, Honors College Director of Operations and Admissions Sherese Williams was still beaming.
On Friday, April 14, the Guerry Center at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga welcomed nearly 80 guests to the 2nd annual Honors College Open House Accepted Students Day—including 34 high school students.
While some of the students in attendance still had decisions to be made, most had already accepted their offers to become members of the UTC Class of 2027.
“There were three that my ambassadors told me about who said they came (to the open house) on the fence,” Williams said, “and now they’re 100% committed to UTC.
“The reason we do this event is so that students have the opportunity to see the best of everything UTC has to offer—but also so that they can see that they can be at home here. Even if they are from Chattanooga, this is going to be an entirely different Chattanooga experience for them.”
The Honors College enrolls 80 Brock Scholars each year. Before Friday’s open house, 55 had accepted scholarship offers, and “when I checked (Monday) morning, I had 64.”
During the event, the students and their parents chatted with Honors College Dean Linda Frost and members of her staff.
After discussing academic experiences outside the classroom, research opportunities and the chance to travel, Frost stressed the sense of community the Honors College has forged.
“What we are able to do in UTC Honors is really precious,” Frost said. “There’s the opportunity part, but the most important thing is the support part.
“We are able to actualize that notion of community support in a way that a lot of honors programs can’t. Part of it is it’s pretty small: 80 students coming in. So we are able to offer a really different experience for you.”
The guests also were introduced to UTC Chancellor Steven R. Angle, Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs Yancy Freeman and Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Engagement Stacy Lightfoot. In addition, the high school students had the chance to visit with 10 Honors College student ambassadors and freshmen humanities students.
Angle told the guests that the Honors College’s community concept is being replicated across campus.
“The sense of community here is really special,” he said. “The students in this room … what you will learn from each other, what you will teach each other, it’s a spirit of engagement.
“The Honors program is about embracing and helping you become the person you want to be. You get the support around you to become who you want to be, to be able to help people, to take on problems and issues, and to be at the top of your game.”
The event’s second half was designed to allow attendees to visit with campus partners. Departments participating in the open house included Student and Family Engagement, Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, Housing and Residence Life, Student Outreach and Support, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Center for Women and Gender Equity, and Center for Career and Leadership Development.
“To be able to centralize so many of these departments in one place is sort of like a safe haven,” Williams said. “The open house was all about getting all the information they need so they can finalize their decision about where they want to go to school, and our hope is that we have given them the best impression of everything UTC has to offer.
“We wanted parents to see that when you drop your child off here in August, you made the right choice. This is the right place.”