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History of the Investiture

UT Knoxville has had only eight chancellors and seen only a handful of investiture ceremonies. Here’s a look at two that were held in the past.

Chancellor William Snyder, 1994

On September 12, 1994, UT celebrated the 200th anniversary of its chartering as Blount College and the investiture of Chancellor William Snyder.

“The celebration began with open houses around campus and the March of History down Stadium Drive to Thompson-Boling Arena, where the convocation and investiture of Snyder took place,” the Volunteer yearbook reported.

The chancellor’s medallion was introduced in 1994 for the event.

“The UT Dragoon Color Guard, mace bearers from all five UT campuses, the Vice Chancellor bearing the Chancellor’s medallion, over 600 decorated faculty members from all the colleges and 64 SGA representations participated in the process toward the arena,” reported the Volunteer.

Remarks at the Snyder’s investiture—23 years ago—show that the campus was focused on some of the same issues as today.

Robert Atwell, president of the American Council on Education, stressed the need for diversity in education.

“Diversity is a matter of the commitments that occur in campus,” he said. “It calls for leadership from the top.”

Gallaudet University President I. K. Jordan, a UT alumnus and the first hearing-impaired person to become a university president, added, “All people, when they look into the mirror of history, should see themselves reflected.”

Other participants in the investiture included now-Senator Lamar Alexander, who had been UT’s president and Tennessee’s governor, and then-Governor Ned Ray McWherter.

In his remarks, Snyder said, “Our 200-year past is prologue to the future. It has been said that unless our eyes are on the future, we cannot understand the purpose of today.”

Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek, 2009

The investiture of Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek took place in Cox Auditorium in the Alumni Memorial Building on May 1, 2009.

Hosted by UT Interim President Jan Simek, the ceremony included representatives of the faculty, students, Board of Trustees, administration, elected officials, and other academic institutions.

Attendees heard formal greetings as well as praise for Cheek from Simek; Student Government Association President Jeff Wilcox; Faculty Senate President John Nolt; Alumni Association President Ford Little; Board of Trustees member Andrea Loughry; US Senator Bob Corker; and Larry Arrington, senior vice president of the University of Florida, where Cheek served as a faculty member and administrator for 33 years.

Simek presented Cheek with the chancellor’s medallion.

In his remarks, Cheek laid out his priorities for the campus, including enhancing the educational experience of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, enhancing outreach and research, increasing diversity, building collaborative relationships, placing more emphasis on sustainability and globalization, and attracting and retaining top faculty.

“As educators, it’s our job to help students create their dreams and give them the tools to reach those dreams,” said Cheek. “We must provide the tools, both socially and intellectually, to help them become productive citizens. I don’t believe there is anything greater that we can do for our students than to help them realize their dreams, equip them to change the world, and motivate them to serve others.”

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