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Former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker to address graduates

Bob Corker will serve as the UTC spring commencement speaker on Sunday, May 1 at 2 p.m. in McKenzie Arena.

Former Chattanooga
Mayor Bob Corker

In 2001, Chattanoogans elected Corker as Mayor, giving him 54% of the vote in an eleven-person field of candidates.

In 2005, violent crime in Chattanooga is half what it was in 2001, the city budget is balanced and tax rates are poised to become the lowest since the 1950’s. Since Corker took office, over $2 billion has been privately invested in the community, teachers in some of Chattanooga’s most challenging schools are now rewarded with incentive pay, and results-oriented effort that has dramatically raised student achievement.

Corker was raised in Chattanooga, where he attended public schools and played sports. At age 13 he took his first job, picking up trash. In his teenage years he bagged ice in a cold freezer, worked at the Western Auto, and later worked as a construction laborer.

He graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Management. After working four years as a construction superintendent and saving $8,000, he started his own construction company. His first big break came with a contract to build drive-through windows for Krystal restaurants. Eventually, his construction company did business in over 18 states. Over time, the acquisition of real estate and other investments became Corker's business focus and the construction arm of his company was sold in 1990. In 1999, he acquired Osborne Building Corporation and Stone Fort Land Company, the two largest and most historic real estate companies in Chattanooga.

Corker focused on partnering with families and offering the education and tools they needed to become responsible homeowners. He founded the non-profit organization Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprises that has helped over 10,000 families through low-interest loans or personal training in home maintenance.

In 1995 he was appointed Commissioner of Finance and Administration for the State of Tennessee. Among his responsibilities were the preparation and implementation of Tennessee's $13 billion state budget and overseeing the general operations of the state. Over 40,000 Tennesseans were moved off welfare and into jobs, tightening the state’s budget.

Corker and his wife, Elizabeth, have been married for 18 years. They have two daughters, Julia (17) and Emily (15) and live in North Chattanooga.

April 22, 2005

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