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See You on February 15

In less than a month, I will have the great honor of moving to Rocky Top to serve as your chancellor.

Leading Tennessee’s flagship university is an opportunity like no other, and I am counting the days until I am an official member of the Volunteer family.

Thank you to the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of the university who have reached out to offer congratulations and best wishes. I also appreciate Chancellor Cheek, President DiPietro, and the many people working to ensure a smooth and successful transition.

I came to campus earlier this week to make plans for my move. The few days I spent here were filled with interactions and inspirational moments that affirmed why the University of Tennessee is such a remarkable place. I met so many people full of pride for UT and excitement about its future. At every turn, I found history, tradition, optimism, and a warm smile welcoming me to the university and the Knoxville community.

Seeing a hard-fought Lady Vols victory over Notre Dame Monday was a highlight I will not soon forget. I was moved by our student-athletes’ tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. and by UT’s own historical milestones in realizing his dream.

I was honored to join the Volunteers who were recognized as firsts in their respective accomplishments, and I was humbled to stand at center court to pay tribute to the legendary Coach Pat Summitt. To be in the house where she led so many championship teams to victory is hard to put into words. What a welcome to Vol Nation!

My visit also provided an opportunity to get a closer look at new and soon-to-be-completed campus facilities. The Stokely Family Residence Hall makes a beautiful addition to campus and is an impressive living and learning space for students. It was also nice to see progress on the Student Union, Strong Hall, and the Mossman Building.

Seeing these large-scale projects drove home how much momentum there is for transforming the campus and enhancing all facets of the student experience. I look forward to exploring campus and all of its buildings and landmarks.

We have a lot to accomplish together, and I can’t wait to get started. I look forward to learning from you and working as a team on our shared goals in pursuit of excellence. Seeing the campus in action helped me understand ever more clearly the meaning of Big Orange. Big Ideas.

I will be back for good on February 15.

Until then, go Vols!

Beverly Davenport