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There’s never been a better time to be a Tennessee Volunteer

Ahead of Chancellor Donde Plowman’s investiture, she reflects on the University of Tennessee’s past, present, and future and why she thinks there’s never been a better time to be on Rocky Top.



At this moment in time we’re celebrating this great history that extends beyond the history of the state.

So for 225 years the people of this region have made good on the promise of education for all those who work hard and want to come get a degree.

But I think it’s a point at which we look to the future and say, “What’s next? What does the world need? What does the state of Tennessee need?”

So I’m excited about putting a stake in the ground and saying Tennessee is going to make a difference in this world. I came back to Tennessee because this place has always stirred my heart because of the whole idea of what it means to be a Volunteer.

I’ve always believed that leadership is the willingness to act and step forward, and that’s what it means to be a Volunteer.

My job is to help light the way, to inspire others to think about doing things in a more impactful way, try to bring people together to accomplish big goals and that’s going to require all of us to be on the same team and pedal in the same direction. I think the world needs more of what this institution of higher education is producing.

Our world needs people who have courage, who are honest, who are leaders and that’s what we’re turning out at Tennessee. I see so many students that want to make a difference in the world. I look at them and see their optimism, I see their passion. They give me hope every day.

I don’t think there’s a better place to be chancellor or to be a student than the University of Tennessee at Knoxville right now.