When Andrea Sams graduates today, it will be more than a personal achievement. It will be a family tradition. She is the third generation of women in her family to earn their degrees from UT. Sams graduates from the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences. Her grandmother graduated in 1953 with a master’s degree in family relations and child development. Her mother earned her bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising in 1983.
Jessica Wilson will have a special distinction when she graduates this week: She’s the first student to complete the College of Nursing’s honors program. In the past, she said, “it’s been difficult for nursing students to graduate with honors.” The rigor of the nursing curriculum kept them from finishing their honors requirements. This year, Sadie Hutson, associate professor of nursing, launched an honors program within the college. To graduate with honors, students must complete eight honors nursing courses and maintain a GPA of 3.5.
Meredith Schlandt thought having a college experience would never be possible for her until she came to UT. Through the FUTURE Postsecondary Education Program, she was able to audit nursing and public health courses and other classes of interest. Schlandt, 21, of Clinton, Tennessee, and seven other students with intellectual disabilities and autism have completed FUTURE and will earn a postsecondary certificate. They are the program’s first graduates.
Dwight Hutchins, the global managing director of Washington, DC-based Accenture’s Health and Public Service Strategy practice, will be the College of Engineering’s commencement keynote speaker on Wednesday, May 8. The ceremony will take place at 11:30 a.m. at Thompson-Boling Arena.
When 21-year-old Anna King graduates from UT this week, it will be an early Mother’s Day gift to herself. As an eighteen-year-old freshman, King found out she was pregnant. She resolved to finish her degree while raising her child as a single mother.
If you want to irk Nick Alderson and Alyssa Schroder, throw something away that could be reused. Environmental consciousness is engrained in the first graduates with a sustainability major in UT history. Alderson used to play in a creek behind his house in Portland, Tennessee and pick up trash accumulating in the once-pristine water. Schroder grew up in Clarksville, Tennessee, watching her mom recycle and take canvas bags to the grocery store. Now, the two want to influence the world to be environmentally conscious.
Monica Langley, senior special writer for the Wall Street Journal, will deliver the commencement address for the College of Communication and Information at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 9, in Thompson-Boling Assembly Center and Arena.
UT will award two honorary degrees and welcome a host of accomplished speakers at this spring’s commencement ceremonies, which begin May 8. Honorary degrees will be awarded to renowned journalist John Seigenthaler at the College of Law commencement and to opera singer Mary Costa, known as the voice of Sleeping Beauty, at the College of Arts and Sciences commencement. More than 3,730 undergraduate and graduate students will receive degrees at thirteen college ceremonies this spring.
UT alumnus Chad Holliday encouraged graduates at UT’s fall commencement ceremony Saturday to be confident in the high value of their degree and to stay determined in their career goals. Holliday, chair of Bank of America and former CEO of DuPont, also received an honorary doctorate in engineering during the ceremony.
For four years, Random Acts of Flowers has delivered smiles to the infirm in Knoxville’s hospitals, nursing homes, and hospices by surprising them with free repurposed bouquets. Larsen Jay, the nonprofit’s founder and executive director, wants to take the charity nationally. Through skills he’s learned at UT, he’s poised to do just that. Jay graduates today from UT’s Executive Master of Business Administration for Strategic Leadership program.