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KNOXVILLE — State Rep. Craig Fitzhugh will be the featured speaker for fall commencement at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

The ceremony begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, in Thompson-Boling Arena.

More than 3,000 UT undergraduate and graduate students who have completed degree programs during the summer or fall semester will be awarded diplomas at the conclusion of the fall semester. Four graduates will receive commissions as second lieutenants in the United States Army. Two others were commissioned in the summer.

Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, has served in the Tennessee House of Representatives since 1995.

Fitzhugh earned a bachelor’s degree in finance at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 1972, and graduated from UT’s College of Law in 1975. His son, Tom, is among the students graduating on Dec. 13.

While serving in the General Assembly and as chairman of the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee, Fitzhugh has remained a strong advocate for the university and higher education.

“The university is pleased to welcome back Craig Fitzhugh, who will give the commencement address for this special group of students,” said Interim Chancellor Jan Simek. “As an accomplished alumnus and advocate for his alma mater, and as a father of one of the graduates, Rep. Fitzhugh understands the opportunities and challenges facing our graduates. I know he will inspire them to remain connected to UT in the future.”

Fitzhugh was born in Brownsville, Tenn., and was raised in Ripley. He graduated from Ripley High School.

After law school, Fitzhugh served four years active duty in the Air Force and was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster. He served in the Air Force Reserve for eight years as a major.

Following active duty, Fitzhugh returned to Ripley to practice law. He was counsel for the Bank of Ripley before he was named president and CEO of the bank in 1992.

Parking for commencement is available at any area on campus. Parking for disabled persons is available in the Neyland Drive Garage (G-10). For a campus parking map, visit

For more information regarding the ceremony, call the registrar’s office at (865) 974-2101 or visit

The ceremony will be webcast live at


Elizabeth Davis, UT media relations, (865) 974-5179,