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Celebrate the Future: Chancellor Roger Brown’s remarks

Good morning and thank you for joining us here today.

In a few moments, UT President John Petersen—in a special statewide telecast—will discuss UT’s new strategic plan and announce the launch of the new University of Tennessee Branding Campaign.

We are proud of our membership in the University of Tennessee system, and I applaud Dr. Petersen’s efforts to raise the system’s visibility with the citizens of Tennessee.

But, before we hear from Dr. Petersen, I want to talk about The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. 

First and foremost, let me repeat my heartfelt thank you from that inspiring video.  Through your dedication and hard work, each of you truly makes UTC special. Our students know it; they tell me all the time about a particular faculty member who makes learning fun or about a staff member who goes the extra mile to serve students.

As a campus, we have much to celebrate that is directly related to the efforts that each of you demonstrate every day.  This year, we are marking a 120-year heritage of service to our students and our region—since 1969 as a proud member of the University of Tennessee system.

UTC has again recorded its highest overall enrollment figures in history and with a record breaking number of freshmen this fall.  I especially appreciate the work of our admissions staff for their efforts in helping us meet these numbers.

UTC has again ranked among the top 40 master’s level colleges in the South in the 2007 edition of U.S. News and World Report's annual America’s Best Colleges guide.  External peer review and accrediting bodies have given UTC’s academic programs high marks across the board, and we are quickly working to reclaim our boast that every accreditable program will earn accreditation.

I hope our colleague Dr. J.R. Clark, the Scott L. Probasco Jr. Chair of Free Enterprise here at UTC, will forgive me for borrowing heavily from his recently published economic impact study of UTC on this community.  What he found is nothing short of astounding, and I want to share some of his findings and conclusions with you today.

UTC directly contributes more than $285 million a year to the local economy and provides 4,337 jobs.  All this while receiving only 6.7 percent of Tennessee’s total higher education appropriations.

UTC makes significant contributions to our community and the state of Tennessee.  Over a course of their lifetimes, UTC graduates earn on average $1 million more than their high school graduate peers. 
Who wants to be a millionaire?  I don’t many who would say “Not me.”  And your chances of getting there through the doors of a university are much greater than from playing the lottery.

Dr. Clark’s study also shows that the vast majority of UTC alumni—88 percent of undergraduates and 83 percent of graduate students—will remain in Tennessee after graduation.  Through the incremental future earning and spending attributable to a UTC education, our graduates will contribute significantly to the future economic development of the state and the tax revenues that the state collects.

For every $1 spent by the state on the Fall 2003 entering UTC class, the state will receive $1 and 45 cents back in taxes.  This translates to a 5.14 percent rate of return on the state’s investment in UTC.  I don’t know about your investments, but I’d be pretty happy with that rate of return.

I don’t want to bog you down in a lot of numbers today, but I hope you found those statistics as impressive as I do.  When someone asks what UTC does for the community or for the state, these figures give us concrete, dollars and cents answers. 

But we all know that education is not about numbers and dollars and cents.  Education is about students, and we are here because we find the work of education to be incredibly satisfying. We help shape our students into the next generation of leaders. In our classrooms, we help them strengthen their knowledge to pursue careers and to establish better lives; and in our laboratories, we discover new knowledge that will not only protect our health, safety, and future but will also improve the quality of life for Tennesseans and people all over the world.

Fueling the engine of economic progress for Tennessee will require increasing the number of college graduates in our state.  Each of you will be asked in the near future to participate in a strategic planning effort to develop a series of goals for our campus.  These goals will encompass those identified by Dr. Petersen and the UT system along with establishing distinct goals for Chattanooga.

On October 3, I will again invite you to come together as a campus when I deliver a “State of the University” address.  I will offer follow up on the points raised during my installation ceremonies in February, as well as share information on other emerging initiatives.  Please watch for more information about this upcoming event and I hope you will make plans to participate.

These are exciting times for Tennessee, for the University of Tennessee, and for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  I appreciate each and every one of you and your tremendous efforts.  UTC is a fast-rising star in higher education, and we’re experiencing steady momentum. 

For more than 100 years, this campus has achieved, you are achieving each and every day, and working together, there is no doubt that “We shall achieve” in the future.

Thank you.

September 22, 2006

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