Fall commencement at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga will be celebrated with three separate ceremonies taking place over two days starting Friday, Dec. 15.
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.
All persons attending commencement ceremonies—regardless of age—must present a valid ticket to enter McKenzie Arena.
Due to McKenzie Arena construction activity, Gate 1 is closed. Graduation candidates will follow the ramp by the tennis course and enter on the ground level. Family and guests will enter through Gates 2 and 3.
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. Closed captioning for all commencement ceremonies can be found by clicking here.
Click here for more information and a FAQ list on fall commencement ceremonies.
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2:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15—Graduate Commencement
Dionne R. Jenkins, Vice President, Corporate Engagement, Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union
Dionne Jenkins began working for Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union six years ago as vice president of diversity and inclusion. Due to the growth and expansion within the credit union, coupled with her active involvement in the community, TVFCU recently promoted her to vice president of corporate engagement.
In her role, Jenkins informs and guides TVFCU’s engagement strategies—ensuring that they are inclusive, thoughtful and impactful—and remains an advocate for DEI-related matters within the credit union and the community.
Jenkins received her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and her MBA from Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee. She is an avid community volunteer who serves on numerous nonprofit boards, councils and committees. She currently serves as the 2023 campaign chair for United Way of Greater Chattanooga and is a member of the board of directors. She is chair for the City of Chattanooga Public Library and UTC Chancellor’s Community Council. She is also on the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Chattanooga, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Downtown Chattanooga Rotary Club.
Jenkins is a graduate of the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga Inclusion by Design Executive Leadership Development Program and Leadership Chattanooga. She holds a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace certificate from the University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business. She received the Community Visionary Award from First Baptist Church and was recognized as a Woman of Distinction. She is a Girls Inc. UnBought & UnBossed honoree, named by City Scope magazine as one of 30 influential business leaders in Chattanooga, and most recently honored by Chattanooga Business Elite as the 2023 Best Business Executive during the Black Excellence Chattanooga Awards event. She has published several articles in CUES Credit Union Magazine on the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.
Her motto is, “I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say, ‘Because of you, I didn’t give up.’” Dionne and her husband, Don, are active in their church and share a passion for helping children reach their highest potential. They have three children, Marquis, Jadon and Justin, and two granddaughters, Maliyah and Mahrissa.
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9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 16—Undergraduate Commencement: College of Arts and Sciences and College of Engineering and Computer Science
David Wade, President and Chief Executive Officer, EPB
David Wade, who graduated from UTC in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in engineering management, was honored by the University as its 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. The Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest annual commendation presented to a UTC alumnus or alumna and recognizes extraordinary service to their alma mater, field and community.
While Wade began his journey at UTC directly out of high school, he left the University after one semester and joined the workforce. A few years later, he began working at EPB in an entry-level position assisting linemen in 1983. Wade progressed in his career at EPB while returning to take evening courses at UTC—where he received a bachelor’s degree in engineering management—before eventually being named president and CEO of EPB in 2016. Wade has continued to serve UTC as a member of the Advisory Board for the College of Engineering and Computer Science.
Among his many notable accomplishments, Wade led EPB’s effort to design and build Chattanooga’s community-wide fiber optic network, which also served as the communications backbone for constructing the nation’s most advanced, automated electric power distribution system. Wade’s focus on fostering innovation has led to the development of groundbreaking projects such as EPB Quantum NetworkSM powered by Qubitekk, the first commercially available quantum network in the nation, and EPB Gig25, the first community-wide 25 gig internet.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Wade led the effort to launch HCS EdConnect, which provides free internet access to families in need with students in Hamilton County Schools. Unlike other internet access initiatives undertaken during the pandemic, HCS EdConnect is a permanent program that has grown to enable internet access to nearly 17,000 students who, together with their family members, total more than 28,000 people who have access to fiber optic internet for learning, applying for jobs, remote work and telehealth.
“My time at UTC gave me the tools to advance my career,” Wade said earlier this year. “My career success is rooted in my desire to help my neighbors, and I’m grateful I get that opportunity.”
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1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16—Undergraduate Commencement: Gary W. Rollins College of Business and College of Health, Education and Professional Studies
Tim Kelly, Mayor, City of Chattanooga
Tim Kelly is the 66th mayor of Chattanooga. He grew up in Chattanooga and attended Columbia University in New York for his undergraduate education.
Upon returning to Chattanooga, Kelly expanded his family’s automotive dealership and launched several successful ventures, including co-founding Chattanooga’s professional soccer club. He later earned his MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business.
Kelly has always been active in the community, serving on boards for multiple nonprofits and even teaching as an adjunct professor at UTC.
Since being elected mayor in April 2021, he has made great strides in his vision to create One Chattanooga—a city where every resident has the opportunity to thrive and prosper.