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Reflecting on what we appreciate most


As we enjoy this beautiful fall weather and approach Thanksgiving, I want to express my gratitude for our campus community.

Every day, you bring the best version of yourselves to this community, and together we’re accomplishing big things. We’ve received approval to move forward with our new strategic vision. We are educating more students than ever before, we’re investing in new buildings across campus, and we’ve launched a new campaign to remind everyone why this world needs more Volunteers.

UT Knoxville is already a top employer in our state and a top choice for students all over the country, but we are working hard to do more:

  • We will be raising the minimum wage on campus to $15 an hour beginning in January. This is the second increase to the minimum wage we’ve made in the past year, and it will include critical compression adjustments.
  • We have introduced a new suite of both merit- and need-based scholarships for Tennessee students. The UT System has also announced plans to raise the income threshold for UT Promise scholarship eligibility. All of these efforts will make it possible for us to help even more students achieve their dream of a UT education.
  • We are continuing to make investments in research and celebrating our successes. Three faculty members have been named Fulbright Scholars for the 2021–22 academic year, with research projects that focus on exploring how Europe and Asia were connected through trade routes during the Renaissance, bridging the gap between hand drawing and digital literacy, and studying the experiences of entrepreneurs in Australia feeling lonely and socially isolated.

Next week, we will be hosting events around Homecoming, Veterans Day, and First-Gen Week. I hope you will join us to celebrate, lift up our students, and make connections across campus.

Ensuring that everyone in our community feels supported, appreciated, and able to do their best work is a top priority for me and my entire leadership team. Thank you for all that you do.



As we head into this season of gratitude and thinking about Thanksgiving, I want to take a moment to thank each and every one of you for what you do to make this such a wonderful thriving community here on this campus.

Each of you shows up, day in and day out, in your studies, in your work, in the research you’re doing, and the teaching, and the organizations you’re leading, and you make us a better place each and every day and I’m grateful for that.

You know we often talk about how big and sprawling the university is and we don’t talk enough about the special moments when we come together as a community to push ourselves forward, which is exactly what I think we’ve done with this new strategic vision.

So many of you were involved in it, gave us great feedback, and I’m also grateful for those of you who are going to be part of helping us carry this into the future.

Thank you for making this the best place in the world to study, to learn, to teach, to research.

Thank you for making this Vol community what it is. Go Vols!