Good afternoon. I’ve got a message for faculty and staff this afternoon. I want us each to think for a minute about why we do what we do at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. A big part of our mission is educating students who become alums.
I want to talk for a minute about the impact that many of our alums—your former students—are having as we fight this virus. All across the state and nation we have former Vols who are on the front lines of this battle.
Whether it’s East Tennessee or Nashville or Denver or Atlanta or New York City there are former students of yours working in health care working in hospitals working in this difficult environment and we should be really proud of them. You’ve played a role in who they’ve become.
So let me give you an example of one story I heard. Courtney White—she’s a physician’s assistant in New York City. Courtney had to postpone her wedding because of the pandemic and yet she stayed committed to health care because this is what we are called to do.
I’m so proud of her and many of your former students the students you’re training now will go on to become alums and our alums are helping in big bold ways and they’re helping in small ways.
For example we have recently raised a hundred and seventy two thousand dollars for a student life emergency fund. That happened because of alums who got their degrees here who studied with many of you.
We also have alums who are sewing face masks around the state around the country trying to help at this great time of need.
So it’s hard. We’ve all been toughened by this challenge. I want to thank you faculty for everything that you do and just remember the daily work you do makes a difference because we have Vols who are out there on the front lines, out in the world making this a better place showing what it means to be a Vol.
So thank you and have a great day!