At commencement events around the country, college graduates are getting more than just their diplomas; they’re receiving inspiration and bits of advice from the speakers at their ceremonies.
UT will award its ninth and tenth honorary degrees to social activist Marian Wright Edelman and actress Dale Dickey. Edelman will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters and speak at the College of Communication and Information commencement. Dickey will receive an Honorary Master of Fine Arts in acting during a campus visit next year.
More than 1,800 undergraduate and graduate students will receive their degrees from UT this week. Commencement ceremonies will be held Thursday and Friday. The featured speaker for the undergraduate ceremony will be Jacob Hayes, a member of the graduating class.
More than 3,730 undergraduate and graduate students received degrees from the university last week. Thirteen ceremonies took place between Wednesday, May 8, and Saturday, May 11, and featured a wide variety of speakers imparting their wisdom to these newly-minted UT alumni. Tennessee Today has collected some of the words of wisdom shared by this year’s commencement speakers.
The university awarded renowned journalist John Seigenthaler an honorary doctorate today at the College of Law’s commencement ceremony. This event was a highlight of a full week of ceremonies, which conclude Saturday. More than 3,730 undergraduate and graduate students are receiving degrees this week. The College of Law ceremony also featured Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, who provided the keynote address.
He knows that the only two graves on UT’s campus belong to dogs and that the most popular class on campus is the History of Rock n’ Roll. Robert “Taylor” Thomas knows dozens of fun facts about UT. Thomas, who graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences today, has learned many things at UT. But as a UT Ambassador, he has taught many things as well. Thomas has given more than 300 campus tours, setting what is believed to be a nationwide record for campus tours.
As he prepares to graduate from the College of Law, Carlos Yunsan says he feels like he’s come full circle. Growing up in Panama, he saw the lawlessness of dictator Manuel Noriega’s regime. And, he said, the fall of the dictatorship in 1989 is etched in his memory. “Coming to law school is, in a way, coming back to that and remembering that it’s important for a country to be ruled by law,” he said.
Despite threats of rain, more than 700 students attended Tuesday evening’s Aloha Oe ceremony at Ayres Hall, one of the university’s oldest graduation traditions. The farewell service invited graduating seniors to gather one last time before their separate commencement ceremonies to say goodbye to the university and pledge their loyalty to UT.
Working full time, being a full-time dad, and being a full-time student was more than a full plate for Luke Amos. But he made it, and today, thirty-two-year-old Amos graduates from UT with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies. “I was determined to get the degree because I realized it was the only path to a better life for me and my son,” he said.
While he was in the Marine Corps, Brandon Lawson spent two years serving President George W. Bush as crew chief on Marine One, the Black Hawk helicopter that transported the president to and from Air Force One, the presidential jet. After his honorable discharge from the military, Lawson enrolled at UT. On Friday, the twenty-seven-year-old graduates with a degree in logistics and international business.