Skip to main content

KNOXVILLE — He’s done it! Smokey, the traveling mascot, has made it to all seven continents this school year.

Thigpen, Dorris and Roberts
Thigpen, Dorris and Roberts
“Where in the World is Smokey?” — part of the Ready for the World initiative at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville — has succeeded in sending Smokey to all seven continents this semester.

In the challenge, UT students, faculty, staff and alumni are invited to wear “Where in the World is Smokey?” T-shirts on their travels and submit photos or videos of themselves to be posted on the Ready for the World Web site.

Alumni Virginia Holtman Thigpen and Janan Flynn Dorris, along with Kimberly Gleaves Roberts, an alumna of UT Health Science Center, recently submitted the Antarctic photo that completed Smokey’s around-the-world trek.

In a note submitted with the photo, Thigpen noted that the cruise — which included five days in the waters of the Western Antarctic peninsula — represented her seventh and final continent, too.

The “Where in the World is Smokey?” challenge began in September 2007. In addition to visiting all seven continents, Smokey has visited 19 states and the District of Columbia.

The challenge will continue through the summer and into the next academic year with the goal of having Smokey visit all 50 states.

To view the photos that have been submitted — and see which states Smokey still needs to visit — see

To request a “Where in the World is Smokey?” T-shirt, complete the form at

The goal of “Ready for the World: The International and Intercultural Awareness Initiative” is to transform the campus into a culture of diversity that best prepares students for working and competing in the 21st century. The initiative involves increasing the diversity among our students, faculty and staff; altering the curriculum; encouraging faculty to incorporate international and intercultural aspects in all of their courses; expanding study-abroad and work-study opportunities; and encouraging students to take advantage of all of these opportunities.


Amy Blakely, (865) 974-5034,