For Robin Klehr Avia—now regional managing principal of one of the world’s leading architectural firms—being on stage at the College of Architecture and Design commencement ceremony filled a gap missing from her life for forty years. Having missed her own graduation ceremony because of family issues, she finally walked the stage during the UT commencement ceremony on Friday, May 13, as she shook hands with Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek and was awarded an honorary doctorate of fine arts. More than 4,800 students graduated from the university’s eleven colleges and the Graduate School last week during four days of ceremonies and special events.
Spring Commencement 2016 News
A physicist and a business leader received honorary degrees from UT on Thursday and today and spoke to some of the university’s newest graduates, challenging them to be innovators—in their careers and in their lives.
When death came knocking, all Makayla Claussen could think about was living long enough to earn her college degree. On Saturday, Claussen will achieve her goal. She will receive a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences. Claussen’s steep climb to graduation and the drive she has demonstrated to get there will make Saturday’s ceremony cause for a Big Orange celebration.
Studying architecture is demanding. Studying architecture while being in the ROTC is—pun intended—a military regimen. Brice Holmes, of Lacassas, Tennessee, graduates today from the College of Architecture and Design. He is also being commissioned as an officer in the student ROTC program.
A passion for engineering and the environment led Liam Weaver to transfer to UT. The drive for a more sustainable planet, combined with a love for visiting its cultures, countries, and ecosystems, helped him find a way to improve lives on a substantial scale. Weaver graduates Saturday with a degree in civil and environmental engineering. At UT, he helped start a chapter of Students Helping Honduras, an organization dedicated to the betterment of that Central American nation.
Miranda Gottlieb grew up watching her parents work in policy advocacy, but it wasn’t until she got to UT that she realized her own passion for public policy.
For many people, death row inmates represent the worst of society who deserve the punishment they are getting.
Jacqueline Gaddis is getting a head start on her nursing career. Gaddis—who will receive her degree on Friday from the College of Nursing—is the youngest graduate that college officials can remember. She is only eighteen. She entered college at age fifteen and is graduating alongside her twenty-year-old sister, Madeleine Gaddis, who entered college at age sixteen.
Melissa Farquharson grew up in the inner city of Kingston, Jamaica. She says it was a tough place to be a girl with a lot of ambition. But driven by her love of sports, and fueled by her own tenacity and the help of some avid supporters, Farquharson found her way to UT and a better life. She will graduate Thursday, May 12, with her master’s degree in sport management and her parents, on their first trip to the United States, will be there to watch.
It’s commencement time in Tennessee! Each year, thousands of new Vol grads cross the stage in their caps and gowns, marking four (or more) years of hard work. Decorated mortarboards are one of our favorite commencement traditions. We’ve put together a few UT-inspired designs for those graduates taking a last-minute approach to capping off their