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KNOXVILLE — University of Tennessee President John Shumaker on Saturday greeted students at the UT Presidential Court area as they moved into campus housing for fall semester.

Shumaker mingled with a crowd of hundreds of students, parents, volunteers, UT staff and others in the commons area located between Reese, Humes, North and South Carrick and Morrill halls and the UT Apartment Residence Hall.

He spent most of the morning extending welcomes, answering questions and occasionally lending a hand to help carry boxes into residence halls.

Despite the large crowds, Shumaker said the students and parents he talked to found the day to be a positive experience.

“One of the great messages I’m getting is how efficiently and smoothly this process is working,” Shumaker said. “Parents and students are very grateful to the volunteers and our staff who are here really working hard and doing their very best that students and new member of the UT family have a great experience on the first day.”

Fall semester at UT begins August 21. The weekend before classes start is traditionally the peak day for students moving onto campus, and Presidential Court is one of the busiest areas.

Jennifer Fortuna, a junior in nutrition from Athens, Tenn., said she had no problems moving into her residence hall.

“It (moving into residence halls) seemed more organized this year,” Fortuna said. “I only had to wait about ten minutes before unloading my car. Everyone seemed happy and cheerful, and it was nice to see the president here.”

Brad Thomas of Rochester, Ind., said his daughter Kaitlyn moved into her room and looks forward to starting classes — and watching the Lady Vols play basketball.

“Kaitlyn has been a Lady Vol fan for years,” Thomas said. “Coming to UT has been her dream.

“We did not know what to expect on this first day, but we are more than impressed. Everything has gone smoothly.”

UT Police Chief Ed Yovella said residence halls were set to open at 6 p.m. Friday, but were opened early to help students avoid rain forecast for that evening. UT police also set up information booths around campus to help to parents and students.