Reflecting on how far we’ve come
Think about where we were this time last year. Still in the thick of the pandemic with a vaccine not yet within reach, our mindset last December was to push through each day to keep our community and campus safe.
Of course, things are not entirely back to normal, and this pandemic is not over. But this semester on our campus, classrooms were full, case counts were low, and vaccination rates were high. I am thrilled with how far we have come. If last year was about discovering what we’re made of, this year has been about putting that newfound resilience and creativity to work moving the University of Tennessee forward.
Let me remind you of just some of the things we have accomplished this year:
- Our new strategic vision is finished and approved by the Board of Trustees. We are now ready to begin implementing its five ambitious goals.
- We have received a number of accolades and recognitions for our academic and research programs from organizations like U.S. News & World Report and the National Science Foundation.
- We’ve forged important research partnerships with government agencies including the Department of Defense and the Army and with multinational corporations like AT&T and Intel.
- We celebrated the dedication of residence halls named for Rita Geier and Theotis Robinson, the new Brenda Lewis Peel Galleria in Hodges Library, four VFL trailblazer statues in front of Neyland Stadium, and nine monuments recognizing the contributions of UT’s historically Black sororities and fraternities.
- We opened the state-of-the-art Zeneah Engineering Complex and the Rocky Top Dining Hall.
- We have demonstrated leadership across campus through our service and giving. More than 300 students, faculty, and staff came together for the Chancellor’s Day of Service to pack donated items for the YWCA, and we set a record for gifts during Big Orange Give with 9,450 donations supporting programs and initiatives across the university.
These are just a few of the successes we’ve had this semester. They serve as a reminder of the great work we can do together when we persevere through challenges, rely on one another, and step forward with leadership.
Good luck to everyone as you finish the semester strong, and I hope you have a joyful holiday season.
Hello Vols! As our semester comes to a close, I want to thank you for all that you’ve done this fall, over the last year.
The resilience you’ve shown, the courage, the joy. We’ve accomplished a lot and it couldn’t have happened without each of you so I want to wish you a Happy Holiday.
As you approach the end of the semester I hope you’ll stay focused on the specific tasks ahead of you. Finish strong, and have a warm and wonderful holiday.
I look forward to seeing each of you in the New Year, and Go Vols!