The Investiture of University of Tennessee Chancellor Donde Plowman

The Investiture of University of Tennessee Chancellor Donde Plowman


Today is an important occasion in the life of our university as we celebrate the
investiture of Chancellor Donde Plowman. The investiture is a
revered tradition in academia and one I am honored to host today. I’d like to
recognize a few special guests before we begin. We are honored to host
representatives of our fellow institutions of higher education, and
I will announce them in the order of their founding date. Dr. Jeremy Buckner,
representing Carson-Newman University, founded in 1851. Dr. Buckner is the
acting provost and vice-president for academic affairs. Mr. David Sanders,
representing the University of the South, founded in 1857. Mr Sanders is the senior
deputy law director for Knox County and a 1994 graduate of the University of
Tennessee College of Law. Dr. Sean Seymour ,representing Vanderbilt
University, founded in 1873. Dr. Seymour is the New York alumni chancellor’s
chair, professor of law, and professor of chemistry. He is a 1993 graduate of the University of Tennessee. Dr. Keith Carver representing the University of Tennessee at Martin, founded in 1927. Dr. Carver is
the chancellor of UT-Martin and is a two-time University of Tennessee
graduate. Dr. Kathy Byrd, representing Pellissippi State Community College,
founded in 1974. Dr. Byrd is the interim vice-president of academic affairs and
is a two-time graduate of the University of Tennessee. We are joined by several
current and emeritus members of the University of Tennessee Board of
Trustees. Will you please stand so that we can recognize you now? (APPLAUSE) Members of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville advisory board are also with us today. Will you also please stand so
we could recognize you? (APPLAUSE) And three of our emeriti and former
presidents and chancellors are with us today. If you could help me recognize Dr.
Jan Simek, Dr. Jimmy Cheek, and Dr. Wayne Davis. If you guys could please stand. (APPLAUSE) And, finally, we are glad to welcome
members of the State of Tennessee General Assembly. Please stand so we can recognize you. (APPLAUSE) So, to continue today’s ceremony we
welcome Dr. Mary Lucal, who serves as associate vice chancellor for human
resources. Dr. Lucal will lead an original poem, or will read an original poem, to
mark the occasion of Dr. Plowman’s investiture. The poem was written by doctor,
or by Professor Emeritus of, and City of Knoxville Poet Laureate, Dr. Marilyn
Kallett. Dr. Lucal? Good afternoon. It’s my pleasure to be here today. Celebrating Donde Plowman, chancellor. Cheers to our ninth chancellor, our fresh hope, communicator,
connector, chief listener, voice for all of us. Donde Plowman! Donde? She’s ahead,
leading UTK’s future, and with us helping to manage our diverse ecosystem:
students, faculty, staff. Here, amidst our great good cheer! Plowman? That’s a worker,
one with feet on the ground, in touch with the earth, in the classroom, with us.
Some plowmen of old were lords, but Donde stays one of us. We’re gardeners of
the mind, plowmen, hard-working, leading men and women. That’s not a part we play. It’s who we are, educators, tilling texts or spreadsheets, unearthing solutions,
designing pathways to the future, no matter how rugged the early-ground, we’re
digging, and we have reach, climbing into the atmosphere. We’re cultivating
community near and far. Today we celebrate a proven leader, Donde — right
here! — Plowman. She was named for three ministers among them her father who
would be proud as we are here teammates all Vols. (APPLAUSE) Special thanks to Dr. Kallett for
capturing the special excitement of this day with her stirring words. It is now my
pleasure to introduce our current faculty-senate president, Dr. Gary Skolits.
Dr. Skolits is an associate professor in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences. He brings us remarks on behalf of the University of
Tennessee-Knoxville faculty. Dr. Skolits. Thank you. As president of the faculty senate, I’m honored to represent my colleagues and
to take part in Chancellor Plowman’s investiture. Today, as we celebrate the
leadership she brings to the University of Tennessee’s flagship campus, we also
celebrate her role as one of generations of UTK professors who have
made the education of students their life’s work. It’s work that lays the
foundation for Tennessee’s economy and for the nation’s future by helping
students whether they are younger or older adults grow into innovative
independent and informed thinkers. As the long-term stewards of the university we
professors have sometimes been accused of living in the past but actually we
are more like time travelers. We live in the past, we live in the present, and we
do live in the future. We help to preserve and conserve past knowledge, we’re often find, where we often find the tools to understand the present through the
study of American history or philosophy or the history of science. We are present
for our students and thinking in real time with them about how to create new
materials how to develop drought- resistant crops or how to help at-risk
middle school students learn and thrive and we think about the future all of the
time the future of our state the implications of our applied research and
the kind of world our students will live in. We want them to imagine to build and
inhabit a healthy thriving and successful life. If they flourish we
all flourish. Our past our present and future are all bound together.
Chancellor Plowman now leads this noble and ambitious enterprise. She has
invested herself and her future in this great university and she truly
believes in the Volunteer spirit and she cares about our students. We likewise
are invested in her and with her as she builds up the faculty who will teach
mentor and research alongside these students. We look forward to seeing the
reputation and the mission of this campus grow and strengthen. Our research
our teaching and our service in this university are all about student success,
past, present, and future. We are proud of our work and we’re proud to have in
Chancellor Plowman a visionary leader to help us move forward together. It is now
my pleasure to introduce two of our outstanding students, David Willis,
president of the Graduate Student Senate and Natalie Campbell, president of the
Student Government Association. (APPLAUSE) Hello everyone. It is such a pleasure to
speak before you all today and I’m honored to be able to participate in
this wonderful investiture of Dr. Donde Plowman. People in the community
alumni and students often ask me different questions about the university
and inevitably one of the first they ask is how is Chancellor Plowman? What is
she like? I always respond by telling them what I think is quite an impressive
story. That is, on her very first day on the job as chancellor, Chancellor Plowman
asked to meet with me in my little office in the Student Union so that I
could tell her about students’ concerns. This action immediately demonstrated her
humility and clearly communicated her priorities on a busy day with people
pulling her in many directions she made time to hear from students.
Since our conversation, Chancellor Plowman has been a partner to the
Student Government Association and by way of that the entire student body. We
look forward to continuing that partnership throughout her tenure. Chancellor Plowman and I quickly identified students’ need for steadiness and
consistency. Chancellor Plowman immediately responded to that need by
creating opportunities for people to give her advice in her new role by
hosting open office-hours for anyone to come meet and speak with her. She’s
visited our student senate many times and has even shared some chips and
salsa with students at Soccer Taco, one of our favorite places. Chancellor Plowman
has demonstrated she addresses issues head-on speaking directly to those
affected, listening with compassion and strategically creating solutions. Her
quick definitive responses have created trust and admiration among students. At
this exciting time in our university when our enrollment is growing, beautiful
buildings are being built, and research is flourishing, students look forward to
the direction of the university under her leadership. I first met Chancellor
Plowman days after being elected student-body president. We both came into our new
roles together and as the ninth female student-body president in the 100 years
of student government at the University of Tennessee I was encouraged to look to
our highest leadership on campus to see another strong smart woman leading us.
I’m honored to serve in my term alongside Chancellor Plowman and I’m
excited on behalf of students at the University of Tennessee to work
alongside her to create greater access to our institution an environment where
everyone feels like they matter and belong and to always embody the
Volunteer creed by always being willing to act. (APPLAUSE) Let’s get this up a little bit. On behalf of all graduate students, I want to express my deepest gratitude for allowing our voices to be heard.
Thank you. I am graduate student president. When I look at this leadership
team at the University of Tennessee the future is bright in this wonderful time to be a Tennessee Volunteer. The University of Tennessee is
not a place. It’s my home. It will always be my home. Being a volunteer means
willing to persevere. It is about an unwavering effort to be a leader in
society. I see that in Chancellor Plowman. It is about my story your stories our
stories coming together to honor the past and build the future narrative of
this great university. I stand up here trying to capture every moment of this
because being a Volunteer is giving me so much in my life more than I could
have ever imagined. Maybe that’s why I’m thirty-five and I’m still in school. I’m amazed at the Volunteer spirit.
Every day I’m amazed at the Volunteer spirit. It’s alive and well. I’m telling
you it’s alive and well today. As my time as s graduate student, at this great
university comes to a close, I’m excited for the future because I look at this
current leadership and I know they live by the mantra, “I will give my all for
Tennessee today and every day forward.” Thank-you, and thank you. (APPLAUSE) It is now my pleasure to introduce Dr.
Anne Smith. Dr. Smith is the King and Judy Rogers professor in business and
serves as head of the management department in the Haslam College of
Business. Dr. Smith will bring remarks as one of Dr. Plowman’s colleagues from
her time as a fellow faculty member in the college. investiture of my friend Chancellor Don
D Plowman I’ve been here for 18 years and for three years I overlapped with
tandy Plowman we were both faculty members in the Department of Management
and we did a lot of things together we co-authored many papers in fact I look
back and think it probably was one of the most productive and effective
publishing relationships that I’ve had in my career but I always knew that five
am king of my email was Don Dee’s up and she wants to work on the paper maybe
that was part of our productiveness we also co-led to study abroad trips to
France and that’s where I really relied on her experiences raising teenagers two
four eight for instance wrangles students that were oversleeping to get
on the bus on time to Toulouse that was a very memorable morning for me
definitely relied on her skills then when she was department head at the
Department of Management I knew she had the best interest of me others and the
department at heart so I’m proud to have watched my friend and colleague rise
through the ranks in Nebraska and return back to the University of Tennessee
Knoxville back to home I also have a very favorite memory that it’s outside
of campus Don Dee and her friend and her friend Pam they created a book club with
women from many different walks of life in many careers I still remember the
first book that Chancellor Plowman chose it was to kill a mockingbird and I can’t
imagine a more strong courageous protagonist than Atticus Finch this
theme of courage is what I’m going to touch on in this very
talk certainly becoming a leader on campus requires courage I admire women
such as Dandi Plowman who take substantial visible roles that require
strength and courage yet there’s another kind of courage i want to talk about and
it’s the courage to be a faculty member in research publishing and top journals
is an arduous process that Chancellor Plowman knows well but
many outsiders may not have a feel for this I thought I’d share a story I can
remember going home to Atlanta and taking my first publication from my
dissertation I was so proud of it it’s great my mother who was an English major
from Chapel Hill said aloud it took 3 to 4 years to write a 25-page paper in a
journal that’s not I can’t even put on my my coffee table so so again this
whole process just to give you a little feel for it
and has many setbacks you have nap you navigate very difficult review or review
of your comments some even questioning your basic abilities rejection
soup-to-nuts biting comments and finally the feeling of jubilation when you get
your manuscript in public and published and in teaching speak the public
speaking is usually up there and one of the big life skills fears that most
people have chancellor Plowman knows well that we eventually learn to
overcome our fears master delivery of material and take risk with new
approaches with students while we were while we receive a steady stream of
positive and helpful comments from students there are a few that sometimes
stop you in your tract and take your breath away but we carry on
so courage is an important element of being a faculty member in the sense that
we continue to rework our ideas we put them forth and submit them to journals
and we’d stand in front of hundreds of students over our career if not
thousands I appreciate so courage is a it is very important for us and I
appreciate the Chancellor Plowman understands this courage of being a
faculty member and so to conclude I will share a quote from Atticus Finch to his
son about courage I wanted you to see what real courage is you begin anyway
and you see it through no matter what encouraging and inspiring faculty and
leading this great institution forward Chancellor Plowman I can’t wait to see
what’s ahead thank you Thank You dr. Smith and mr. Willis I
just want to let you know that I’m still at the University of Tennessee and I’m
60 years old so B being involved and giving you all never ends
so as you all know the University of Tennessee is the land-grant University
of the state of Tennessee back in 1862 Abraham Lincoln made us the land-grant
University through the Morrill Act and the mission of the land-grant University
is to provide a ladder up to the middle class and the working class now as you
also know recently we got recognized as moving up in US News & World Report from
52nd to 44th which was historic a great jump but I take have that cept that
reward with a mixed emotions because you know the US news we report when they
give you the rankings one of the things that they select you on is based on your
selectivity on what percentage of the students that you reject so if you
reject like 70% of the students that apply that’s pretty good but if you can
reject like 95 percent of the students that apply that’s really good you look
at the top schools they’re rejecting like 95 percent as the land-grant
university that’s exactly the opposite of who we are we’re not going to be
measured by who we exclude we’re gonna be measured by who we include and so
that’s part of our mission our mission is to make sure that we’re educating
more Tennesseans and no other more than no other university and the state of
Tennessee we’ve agitated 250,000 students across of people across the
state of Tennessee since our in our history and 12,000
just in the last year we lead the state in research we also lead the state and
engagement at making a difference in our communities in many ways including the
95 extension agents their agencies that we have in every single County across
the state as you also know we have celebrated just over 225 years of
history September 20 or 10th we celebrated 225 years of history in the
state of Tennessee and we talked about that a lot during that celebration and
were the thing that we agreed on the best way to celebrate that history and
honor that past is to make this next decade the best decade in the history of
the state of Tennessee and the University of Tennessee and we’re going
to dedicate ourselves to doing that for us to accomplish either those missions
the land-grant university mission making this next decade the best decade in our
history we have to have great leadership and that’s why I’m so excited to be able
to be here too for the investiture of Dandi Plowman she
is gonna be a terrific leader and already already is she was everything
that we were looking for we were looking for somebody that can bring stability
and bring change and those things sound contradictory but they’re not we need
somebody that can be here for a long period of time to bring stability to our
art university she’s committed to doing that we’re committed to being here to
support her for a long period of time she’s also committed to change the world
is changing and if our university doesn’t change with it then we’re not
gonna be able to keep up and she’s committed to doing that as well I’ve
gotten to know her over these last four months working with her and she’s a
great listener she’s got emotional intelligence she’s got a great vision
she’s a decision maker and I’m just so excited to have the opportunity to work
with her to see her lead our alma mater our University and played that leading
role in the state of Tennessee before we introduced Dandi we also Chancellor
Pawan we also want to have here for a few words from another great leader in
the state of Tennessee and for the University of Tennessee John Compton is
a very successful businessman is now the chairman of the board of trustees of the
University of Tennessee and welcome me or what let me welcome you John Compton how’s everyone hope everyone is doing
well now we’re on Rocky Top how’s everybody doing okay this is exciting
day on behalf of the Board of Trustees I want to thank the selection committee
who went through a long process in selecting dr. Bauman in a personal
thanks to Randy who oversaw that personally the stewardship of that
selection I said to Randy once I said Randy you know you’re only going to make
a couple of decisions that matter in your role as president and this is this
is probably one of them how do you how are you gonna get to have will you get
comfortable how will you know he goes it’s amazing what you can find out about
someone at 30,000 feet and you just keep flying around and flying around and
flying around till you finally get to know someone and you got to know dr.
Plowman and that was the choice he made my wife Cindy and I had the chance to
get to know Don day and her husband Dennis and it was one of those dinners
that we were on the way home and his any good partner would do I said to my wife
Cindy I said what you think and she said she’s a home
run what took you guys so long and I said I don’t know I’m gonna ask
Randy about that but I seen right away it was clear to me that Don day is
exactly who we needed to elevate our knoxville campus to collaborate across
our university system and to raise our state to even higher levels of
excellence in achievement she stands for excellence she is both comprehensive and
considerate to the many constituencies that she will serve and her love of the
volunteer spirit well it’s simply contagious to everyone just watch her
drive or golf cart across campus and all the students running up to her to take
selfies with the Chancellor today we left up chancellor Plowman and tomorrow
she will be that beacon that shines brightly on that hallowed hill with that
chancellor Plowman you can follow this is like a wedding when you’re
looking for the ring do it okay wait there’s the ring dr. Don de Ashe most
Plowman you have been selected to serve as Chancellor of the University of
Tennessee Knoxville it is my great pleasure to present you with the
Chancellor’s medallion to formally install you in this role the medallion
is inscribed with your name and the names of all former Chancellor’s of this
great institution by accepting this medallion you will assume the privilege
and the responsibility to lead the flagship of the state of Tennessee Randy
will you please posts Brandee Rebecca congratulations
Chancellor Plowman now I’d like to introduce provost and senior vice
chancellor david Manderscheid prior to the working partnership at UT dr.
Perlman and dr. Manish I’d served together as fellow Dean’s at the
University of Nebraska and Lincoln dr. Manish I’d it’s my pleasure to welcome
you as you formally introduce Chancellor pollen thank you president Boyd this is
a great day for the University of Tennessee Knoxville as we recognize and
formally pass the torch to our leader Chancellor Don D Plowman as we have
prepared for this day Chancellor Plowman has repeatedly said she wants today to
be about us our students faculty staff and alumni our research our teaching our
service and how we define our future I want to take the next few minutes to
talk about her as president Boyd mentioned Chancellor Plowman and I work
together at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln where we were both Dean’s she
in the College of Business and mian Arts and Sciences I watched to raise funds to
build a brand new building increase enrollment increased the number of
minority students enrolled in the College of Business add programs hire
new faculty increase rankings the list goes on
I knew Chancellor Plowman then as I know her now as a great collaborator who
brought different parts of campus together I remember going to her in
Nebraska when I needed help landing in computer science faculty member by
placing their partner in the College of Business later when she needed the same
assistance I was happy to help to her successes Dean earned her a promotion to
executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer at the University of
Nebraska where she led the campus strategic
planning efforts led the task force to change the budget allocation model
worked closely with that athletics to grow a culture of partnership and
excellence and build an overall leadership community around the
willingness to act she got to Nebraska by way of Texas and then here at
Tennessee where she taught and was the department head and what is now the
Haslam College of Business when she was here the first time
dr. Plowman established herself as a uniter of departments and of people
through vision and execution by entering the arena and having people’s backs
it seems right the leadership around the willingness to act brought her to be a
volunteer once again the willingness to act is
ingrained in what it means to be a volunteer and you simply don’t achieve
the success she has seen without it Sandler Plowman will tell you her
success is about surfacing other ideas communicating shared vision and creating
an empowering environment at the heart of that is her shining light on others
and helping them be successful when the search committee asked me who I thought
should be Chancellor I told them without hesitation Dandi Plowman she is the
right person to carry the torch here and where the Chancellor’s medallion of the
University of Tennessee it is a my pleasure to introduce my boss my friend
and the ninth ninth Chancellor of the University of Tennessee Knoxville dr.
Don D Clavin thank you thank you very much thank you
Thank You Provost Manderscheid for that kind introduction and thanks to all of
you who are here today Thank You president Boyd and trustee Compton for
the faith that you’ve placed in me I also want to thank my husband Dennis for
your love and support and for my sons Kevin and Chiaki for the joy they bring
me every day since I’ve been back on Rocky Top and especially this past
weekend as we celebrated homecoming I have met person after person who told me
how their time here at UT transformed them and about all the reasons that they
still consider this place their home it’s fitting because for me the last
four months have felt like coming home it’s a bit like sitting down at a piano
again after years away your hands know just where to go your fingers remember
the weight of the keys you hear the melodies in your head but it still takes
a little practice to get a feel for the music again and that’s what I’ve been
doing since July getting a feel for this campus again I’ve been on a listening
tour accepting almost every invitation that comes in each week I hold office
hours and I spend time with our faculty our students staff I’ve been engaging
the deans and touring the college’s asking hard questions of the cabinet the
progress this university has made since I was here as a faculty member and a
department head nine years ago is remarkable our campus is undergone a
breathtaking physical transformation and because of your hard work more programs
than ever before are ranked among the top in the nation
one thing is clear we are standing at a pivotal moment of extraordinary
opportunity what we do next is up to us these times of great opportunity are
rare but they’re not on Siddhant more than a century ago a 32
year old son of a Presbyterian minister named Charles Dabney arrived at the
University of Tennessee to become its 11th president
it was 1887 25 years after the Morrill Act establishing the land-grant
universities 18 years after UT received its land-grant designation when Dabney
came to UT he found a modest campus offering a classical education to
Southern gentleman but what he saw was possibility and
great opportunity Dabney revamped the curriculum he
replaced and then doubled the size of the faculty the student body grew
threefold ut fully admitted women for the first time in 1892 that’s good and
Dabney hired a dean of women at that time to help with their success the
university even started its first women’s basketball team in 1903 Dabney
also considered convinced the Tennessee legislature to start investing in the
university leading to the very first state appropriation these were bold
moves and but by the time he left in 1905 1904 it was UT was a prominent
research university with a sprawling campus more than 50 faculty and 500
students Charles Dabney launched us on the path to becoming the world-class
research institution that we are today all while focusing on our commitment to
education the path to greatness wasn’t preordained great things happen because
one person recognized the moment and with courage lit the way for others
stepping forward with courage is something Tennesseans have always done
in 1794 the people of this region founded this university the
first public university west of the Appalachian divide that was courageous
in 1846 when the US Secretary of War asked 2,800 asks for 2,800 volunteers to
fight in a mexican-american war more than 30,000 Tennesseans answered the
call that was courageous and in 1920 when it came time for the Tennessee
General Assembly to decide whether to amend the US Constitution and give women
the right to vote a young lawmaker from East Tennessee cast an unpopular and
courageous vote in his pocket representative Harry T Bern carried a
letter from his mother Phoebe at her urging he took a stand and voted yes
Tennessee became the final state needed to secure ratification and the US
Constitution was amended a week later I love these stories they’re examples of
acts of courage that challenged people in power and moved institutions
sometimes that’s what it takes to make change the Morrill Act created the
land-grant and extended education to those who were not part of the elite or
the wealthy class however it did not guarantee education for everyone so
imagine the courage of jean mitchell gray lincoln blinking and joseph
patterson three young black men who were denied admission to UT’s graduate school
they took their case to court and they won and in 1952 they were finally
awarded the opportunity they deserved in 1960 Theotis Robinson was denied
undergraduate admission because he was black with support from his parents he
pressed his case with President Andy Holt and the Board of Trustees and in
1961 Robinson along with charles blair and willie Mae Gillespie were admitted
to the University of Tennessee it was their courage that finally opened our
doors to everyone lighting the way for many others bold leadership the kind
that changes hearts and that opens doors that have never before
been opened the propels organizations in society forward this kind of leadership
takes courage we are all here standing on the shoulders of those who came
before us those who were unafraid to challenge the conventional wisdom and to
chart a new path legendary engineering professor Fred Brown showed us the
difference it can make to have an advocate for underrepresented students
Brown went into high schools across Tennessee to personally recruit top
students into the minority scholarship program he founded Virginia mor
essentially built our UT Extension Program from the ground up as our first
Extension agent in the 1900s bill bass transformed the entire field of forensic
anthropology with his radical idea to create a place where he could study dead
bodies and Pat Summitt whose legacy lives on not only because of the
basketball on the basketball court but it lives on in the hearts of all of us
who face challenges and stare them down with unwavering grace because of these
Trailblazers and so many more we are here where we are today and where is
that today the University of Tennessee is graduating more students conducting
more high-impact research connecting with more Tennesseans and
garnering more support than ever before across the state countless children grow
up wearing orange and dream of becoming a volunteer last year more than 7,000
students aren’t a degree from this institution we and we also want to
fulfill those dreams for young people who can’t even envision them or don’t
think they are possible so through the UT promise and other scholarship
programs we are providing opportunities to more students who need them than ever
before these opportunities allow our students to benefit from our top-ranked
programs in its a record four thousand four hundred and sixty students
participated in research we are among the top
universities in the country for undergraduate engagement in research
more than 1300 students studied abroad last year connecting Tennessee to the
world and opening up the world and opening up Tennessee to the world and
many opportunities more opportunities for our students to become Fulbright and
Rhodes Scholars the faculty who mentor and teach our students are at the top of
their fields conducting research that’s pushing the boundaries of what we know
about science and society we are making for example the nation’s power grid more
efficient and secure through our research we’re also helping diabetes
patients monitor blood sugar without having to prick their finger our
research is advancing stem education here in Appalachia where the mortality
rate exceeds the nation’s and we’re socio-economic challenges beg for
attention beyond scientific achievements our research touches communities near
and far our pro bono Law Clinic is one of the oldest in the country and it’s a
model for how to inspire future eternities to give back to their
communities UT libraries is interviewing hundreds of survivors of the 2016
Gatlinburg wildfires they’re archiving the stories of heartache and resilience
as our neighbors rebuild after that tragedy and at the institute of
agriculture our faculty are discovering how to improve plant and animal
production which will help feed a growing world population the impact of
our work is possible in large part because of the support we receive as an
institution last year we had a record number of donors more than 47,000 people
this shows just how broad our base of support really is that people care
enough about this place that they put their money behind it
in fact our alumni and Friends were so generous during our ambitious join the
journey campaign that we met our goal nearly two years early that’s unheard of
we now have three named colleges more scholarships and greater support for
faculty than ever before and support isn’t just coming from private donors in
recent years the state legislature has increased its investment in our
University and in higher education as whole in this state most public
universities across the country cannot say that right now over the last four
months I have crisscross the state meeting alums donors parents legislators
future volunteers every person I have met has told me how much they loved this
university even people who never attended UT tell me how important this
university is to them to their families and to their local communities our
university unlike any other entity in this state connects the people of
Tennessee you feel it when a hundred thousand fans sing Rocky Top in Neyland
Stadium you hear it in the music resonating from our concert halls you
see it in the knowledge shared in our classrooms our legacy lives in every
person touched by the teachers the nursers the social workers who learned
to lead at the University of Tennessee we should never lose sight of this this
is what we stand for so here we are 225 years after Blount College was founded a
hundred and fifty years after East Tennessee College became a land-grant a
hundred and 26 years after the University of Tennessee regularly
admitted women for the first time in nearly 60 years after Robinson Gillespie
and Blair defined what it truly meant to promise and deliver an education for
everyone you have to wonder if Charles Dabney could ever have imagined where we
are today we have more than 25 250,000 alumni around the world 250,000 alums
around the world and have made discoveries that have expanded human
knowledge and solved Grand Challenges now here we stand at another crucial
time in our history our path again is not predetermined but momentum alone
will not carry us into the future that we want we get to define what it means
to be Tennessee’s flagship land-grant University for the next 220
five years we will work together to build this vision and whatever we decide
is there our best path forward I do know this the University of Tennessee will be
an institution of courage what does that mean
well first it means we will have the courage to take risks in our curriculum
and in our research let’s be the first gland grant research university willing
to radically innovate our curriculum a 30-hour narrowly focused major may not
be the best way to serve every student industries and business leaders continue
to tell us that they want a workforce with integrated knowledge and skill sets
I recently heard Satya Nadella CEO of Microsoft say that universities should
encourage students to major in learning imagine that a major called learning the
best way to prepare students for jobs that haven’t yet even been created is to
teach them how to learn and how to solve problems let’s have the courage to
create more flexible degree programs let’s quell any declining trust in
higher education by holding ourselves accountable and being bold in meeting
the changing needs of students in society let’s acknowledge that
innovation and discovery often happen at the intersections of our disciplines
where the hard sciences meet Social Sciences where technology meets the
humanities these intersections are where we will take on the significant
challenges facing Tennessee and our world through collaboration through
creativity and through compassion we have built a strong and enviable
partnership with Oak Ridge National Lab the nation’s preeminent science research
facility this relationship is leading to advancements in science that that we are
translating into useful solutions to everyday problems fulfilling the promise
of the new oak ridge Institute will provide us with enormous potential to
move beyond the status quo we will bring the intellectual power of UT faculty
together with other searchers and industry partners let’s
create a culture that fosters such connections let’s have the courage to
take risks and not be limited by the way we have always done things second we
will have the courage to care in order to achieve our goals we must care about
one another let’s be known as the University we’re respectful interaction
defines everything we do where civil discourse is always our default let’s
model for the world what it means to have strong convictions on an issue
while listening truly listening to the strong convictions of others
let’s give life to the idea that we can be challenged through conversation with
those who disagree with us and open still be open to the possibility that
those interactions might change us might move us I want every student staff and
faculty member to find a home here a place where they feel comfortable being
themselves that will enable us to do our best work and grow and learn alongside
people different from ourselves let’s be the place where we learn from one
another and stand up for one another no matter our differences let’s be the
place where we celebrate the things we have in common as well as the things
that make us different let’s have the courage to care and finally we must have
the courage to lead the inscription on the torchbearer statue reads one that
beareth a torch shadow with oneself to give light to others we are the
volunteers we bear the torch we give light to others it is in the DNA of
Tennesseans to step forward in service and in leadership
let’s give new energy to what it means to be a leader let’s recommit to that
idea for every member of the volunteer family imagine the power T as a symbol
of courage demonstrating to the world what it means to step forward and act
imagine the Tennessee graduate traveling around the world in an orange shirt
hearing oh you went to Tennessee what was your volunteer experience what did
you do to help make the world better we can be that place known around the world
for producing graduates whom for whom service and leadership was part of their
experience and who graduate committed to making the world a better place if we
summon the courage to take risks in our classrooms and our curriculum in our
research if we summon the courage to care to grow and learn alongside those
that are different from ourselves if we summon the courage to lead and serve
like the thousands and thousands who have come before us we will light the
way for our state for other universities and for our world we will bear the torch
thank you they’ve given me some written closing
remarks but I have to say say wow you know and with all due respect coach
former I know that you’re out there up until this moment when somebody would
talk about the University of Tennessee I would always say my most exciting moment
as a UT fan and alumni was the Fiesta Bowl in 1998 but I think Chancellor
Pawan just topped it I could not be more excited about this university where
we’re at and where we’re going well thank you chancellor Plowman for sharing
your inspirational vision I hope today’s ceremony encourages our entire
university family and motivates us to work together for the success of the
University of Tennessee at Knoxville I want to thank our student musicians for
sharing their talents with us today the processional and recessional music were
commissioned especially for today’s ceremony and our original works composed
by undergraduate students Clair Terrell and Willie Caen who were advised by
composition teacher dr. Andrew Sigler thank you to our vocalist Derek Stahl
the UT brass quintet and the string quartet which will perform our
recessional music thank you to everyone who attended today I’m confident that
with Chancellor Pawan as our leader the University of Tennessee will continue
lighting the way for our community our state and the world so this in concludes
today’s investiture ceremony everyone is invited to join us for a reception on
the Student Union Plaza staff are outside the auditorium to direct you to
the reception I ask the audience to remain in their seats until the
recessional has exited the auditorium go Vols Dr. Carlton appear will now retrieve the
mace and lead the recessional from the auditorium. Please rise for the Alma
Mater and remain standing as the recessional exits the auditorium. Thank
you for being with us today. (SINGING) (APPLAUSE) (APPLAUSE/MUSIC) (MUSIC) (APPLAUSE) Thank you all for being here.

One thought on “The Investiture of University of Tennessee Chancellor Donde Plowman

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