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KNOXVILLE — Gov. Phil Bredesen offered congratulations and words of wisdom to the 2006 University of Tennessee graduating class.

Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen
Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen
Bredesen served as the keynote speaker for the university-wide commencement ceremony Friday, May 12, in Thompson-Boling Assembly Center and Arena on UT’s campus.

Bredesen urged them to support their university in the future. “Just as the university has nurtured and supported you, you now undertake an obligation to nurture and support it in the years ahead,” he said. “Speak well of it, recruit good students and faculty and support it financially.”

Bredesen also shared advice from a poster made for him by a first grade class last year. The poster, “Many Varied and Unusual Things a Governor Needs to Know,” included suggestions, such as “a governor must know how to be cool for the girls” and “a governor must know how to tie his shoes,” which the governor stated he thinks he has covered.

“So, those are the basics, the funny ones. But, as is always the case when you talk to children, there are some other nuggets of insight that…really hit the nail on the head,” Bredesen said. “[Like] number 16 on the kids’ list, ‘a governor needs to know how to work seriously hard.’

“I want to underline for you today that it is really true that it is hard work that makes the difference. In the world of business and entrepreneurship, for every hundred people who have a good idea, there is maybe one who actually makes something happen, and that one is not the person who is smartest or got the best grades. It is almost always the person who rolls up their sleeves, who focuses, and who does the hard work that it takes to make something happen,” he said.

Bredesen has worked hard throughout his administration, to refocus statewide attention on education, particularly higher education. The governor reiterated in his address his commitment to developing UT into a top research university.

“One of my dreams as governor is to help nurture this university as it continues its growth as a first-rate teaching and research university,” he said. “Today’s private universities are becoming more dependent on the public sector each year, and today’s great public universities, like this one, increasingly depend on the private sector for support and growth. I’ll do my part as governor to support the University of Tennessee for the few years that I am here in this job.”

The commencement ceremony also featured officer commissions of UT’s Air Force ROTC graduates. Anthony Allen Booher and Jared Michael Kidd were commissioned as Second Lieutenants.

UT graduates have the option to attend individual college ceremonies throughout the week of commencement in addition to the university-wide event.

For more information on commencement, visit