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Kickoff to Commencement


The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will celebrate spring graduation this week with a series of college ceremonies and a university-wide celebration. 

Each college holds a ceremony for its graduates, faculty and staff. Attendance at the college ceremonies, which began in 2004, has grown each year. Students say they appreciate the smaller, more personal settings and the involvement of faculty and traditions of their own colleges.

College ceremonies will be held at several campus locations, as well as the Knoxville Convention Center.

Tonight’s Kickoff to Commencement event is open to spring and summer graduates, their families and UT employees. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Torchbearer with Aloha Oe, a traditional UT candlelight ceremony signifying graduates’ continuing journey and reminding them of their pledge to serve the university and the community.

The event continues on the Pedestrian Mall and includes a first-come, first-served casual dinner and gifts as well as an outdoor concert featuring the Memphis-based band Ingram Hill.

Aloha OeIn the event of rain, Aloha Oe will be canceled, but Kickoff to Commencement will continue as scheduled with accommodations made for weather conditions.

The combination of a Kickoff to Commencement celebration and smaller ceremonies began last year when a university-wide ceremony could not be held because of renovations to Thompson-Boling Arena. The format was so successful, a similar plan was adopted for this year, Interim Chancellor Jan Simek said.

Faculty and staff make it possible for the university to pursue its missions of teaching, research, public service and success for its graduates. 

For more information or to RSVP for Kickoff to Commencement, visit or contact Beth Gladden at (865) 974-2225 or

The college ceremony schedule is listed below.


  • Chancellor’s Honors Reception: 10 a.m., University Center Ballroom. Contact Mary Ann Bright, 974-7875.
  • Audiology and Speech Pathology: 11 a.m., Alumni Memorial Auditorium. Contact Patricia Visser, 974-5019.
  • Nursing: 1 p.m., Thompson-Boling Arena. Contact Missy Raby, 974-7583.
  • Architecture and Design: 1 p.m., Clarence Brown Theatre. Contact Sissy Lugman, 974-5265.
  • Graduate Hooding: 4:30 p.m., Thompson-Boling Arena. Contact Kay Reed, 974-2475.

Friday, May 9

  • Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources: 9 a.m., Knoxville Convention Center. Contact Angie Berry, 974-7303.
  • Arts and Sciences: 9 a.m., Thompson-Boling Arena. Contact Heather Cockrum, 974-4377.
  • Education, Health and Human Sciences: 9:30 a.m., Knoxville Convention Center. Contact Glenda Noe, 974-5063.
  • Social Work: 1:30 p.m., Alumni Memorial Auditorium. Contact Natalie Crippen, 974-3353.
  • Communication and Information: 2 p.m., Knoxville Convention Center. Contact Sherry McNair, 974-1540.
  • Engineering: 2:30 p.m., Knoxville Convention Center. Contact Angela McCarter, 974-2454.
  • Business Administration: 3 p.m., Thompson-Boling Arena. Contact Tara Norris, 974-2341.
  • Law: 6 p.m., Knoxville Convention Center. Contact Teresa Peterson, 974-6784.

Special parking and shuttle arrangements will be provided to support the college ceremonies and hoodings scheduled today and Friday. Graduates and their guests may park for free in university student parking areas throughout the campus. For more detailed parking information, visit

For more information on commencement ceremonies, visit or contact the university registrar’s office at (865) 974-2101.