Spring Commencement 2017 News

Astronaut Schmitt Receives Honorary Degree, Exhorts Grads to Lead the Way

Harrison H. “Jack” Schmitt was part of the last manned mission to the moon. Today, he shared lessons learned from that December 1972 mission with graduates of UT’s College of Arts and Sciences. During the Apollo 17 mission, the rocket that was to return home needed electrical signals to ignite. Schmitt and his fellow astronauts

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Photo Gallery: Spring Commencement 2017

More than 4,000 students, including 3,038 undergraduates, 805 graduate, 96 law, and 82 veterinary medicine students, participated in commencement ceremonies this semester. The university awarded honorary degrees to Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt; Tennessee’s 48th governor, Phil Bredesen; and HGTV founder Ken Lowe. To read messages and view photos from UT students, their families, and well-wishers on

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73-year-old Graduate, ‘Bored with Retirement,’ Embarks on Law Career

Tom Winston is not your typical UT grad. The 73-year-old has been the associate dean of the medical school and the director of the hospital and clinics at the University of California–Davis, and he’s served as CEO of several health care organizations. “I decided to go to law school because I was bored with retirement,” he said.

Father’s Illness Pushes Grad to Research Diet, Cancer Connection

Amber MacDonald grew up playing sports and thought she wanted to be a personal trainer. But her father’s terminal cancer diagnosis when she was 15 changed the course of her life forever. This week, she’s receiving her master’s degree in cellular molecular nutrition, earned in UT’s College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences. MacDonald has spent the past three years researching the link between nutrition and cancer.

17-year-old Animal Science Graduate is One of Youngest in UT History

Kristina Kravchenko is one of the two top graduates of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at UT—but that’s not even her most amazing feat. A Knoxville native, Kravchenko is graduating with her bachelor’s degree at 17 years old. Records indicate she’s one of the youngest UT graduates ever.