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March Message: Celebrating Our Successes


Over the past year, we have had made tremendous strides in areas across our university—from student success and academic excellence to research and athletics.

I am proud of our campus community and all that we have accomplished together. We would not be where we are today as a university without the dedication and talent of every student, faculty, and staff member. Thank you for all that you do.

Please take a few minutes to reflect with me on our successes of last year. I hope each of you will be proud of the role you played in these accomplishments.


I’ve been thinking a lot about the last year and all that we’ve accomplished here at UT Knoxville, this great proud land grant, R1, flagship university. I couldn’t be proud of the things that have happened and I want to share just a few of them with you.

First of all, our enrollments hit an all-time high record last fall of over 31,000 students. It was also the biggest freshman class we’ve ever recorded in our history. Those are both indicators that students are wanting to come here.

Last year, from fall to spring 96% of the students who enrolled in fall came back in the spring. That’s a big number. And it’s a big increase over what we’ve done in the past. I couldn’t be prouder of that.

I was thrilled when just a few weeks ago, Forbes Magazine named UT Knoxville, as one of the best places in the country to work. Inside the state of Tennessee, among large organizations, we were ranked third.

If you look at the universities that were also participating in Forbes, we ranked first in the SEC, we ranked 15th in the country. We’re doing good things and good things are happening.

Last fall, we opened the new Zeanah Complex in engineering. It’s unbelievable, and a model for the country and how to teach engineering.

This past fall, we started the Advanced Manufacturing Institute. As a
great interdisciplinary group, we’re going to be able to do even more significant, impactful research by working together across boundary lines.

Our faculty continue to be ranked in the highest in the world in terms of number of citations. That’s an indication of impact. I couldn’t be more proud of our faculty who every day are working hard to make life and lives better for people in Tennessee and beyond.

I’m also thinking about the incredible academic programs we have here at this university, some of which continue to receive national recognition. Let’s just take, for example, supply chain management, nuclear engineering, printmaking, the School of Information Sciences, so many good programs that are attracting students and faculty who want to be here.

We are ranked in the top 10, and have been for the last 10 years, in recipients of grants from the National Endowment for Humanities, that’s a great expression of the success we’re having in all sorts of areas on campus.

We also continue to be a big Fulbright producer, one of the top in the country.

And let’s talk about athletics for a moment. We were the only university in the country who did the following four things in the same year: One, our football team went to postseason competition that would be the bowl game. Our men’s basketball team and our women’s basketball team participated in postseason competition. And four, the baseball team went to the College World Series in Omaha. That’s a significant accomplishment.

The men’s basketball team won the SEC championship. The women’s soccer team won the conference championship, the women’s swimming and diving, won the SEC championship.

And there’s an excitement around the campus and around the community and the entire state over what’s happening on our campus.

And I thank each of you for your contribution to all the good things that are happening. I look forward to many more.