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Celebrate the Future: Lydia Grafton’s remarks

I have often heard faculty and staff members say that students are the main reason they work at UTC.  I know in my heart that students are what make UTC great.

Over the years, students have had a major effect on our campus.  Our Alma Mater, even the name “Mocs” came from student involvement.

Today, we continue to be proud of the accomplishments made by UTC students, who will become alumni of tomorrow and who will play a significant role in the future of our city, state and country.

We can be proud that a record number of high school students have chosen to become UTC college freshmen.  They are also coming to campus better prepared with higher ACT scores, higher GPAs, and more earned college credits.

I am proud that our campus boasts the most ethnically diverse student population in the UT system.

There are so many examples of student achievement at UTC.  We all offer our congratulations to Darris Saylors, a UTC Honors Program student who has been awarded a prestigious Portz scholarship.

Shannon Womack, named a four-time All American, is UTC’s most nationally decorated student athlete ever.

Chareva McCullough and Keyanna Webb became the first African American students from UTC to study in South Africa, when they spent the spring 2006 semester at the University of Kwa Zulu-Natal.

A team of MBA students were invited to participate in an on-line global competition of business strategy.  The UTC team managed a mock tennis shoe company and outperformed many other well known colleges.

We saw that a team of engineering students competed in a mini baja competition.  Another group of engineering students even designed a working pinball machine this year.

These are just a few examples of how UTC students bring distinction to themselves and to this campus every day.  With guidance and leadership from our professors and advisors, UTC students are reaching new heights.

The Student Government Association applauds the efforts of President John Petersen to increase awareness of UT across our state.  Hopefully, more Tennesseans will see the importance of higher education in our state and support increased contributions from the state of Tennessee.

I am hopeful that UT President Petersen will continue to champion the cause of students, so that dreams of a college education can come true for more students.  And those students will choose UT Chattanooga.

September 22, 2006

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