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KNOXVILLE – Many notable speakers will be on the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, campus next week to offer graduates sound words of wisdom before sending the newly conferred out into the world.

Dolly Parton will receive an honorary doctorate at the College of Arts and Sciences ceremony on Friday, May 8. Details on the ceremony are available by visiting

All ceremonies will take place at Thompson-Boling Arena, unless otherwise noted, and will include:

Wednesday, May 6, 11:30 a.m., College of Engineering
• Kimberly S. Greene, chief financial officer, chief risk officer and executive vice president of financial services for the Tennessee Valley Authority. Greene joined TVA in 2007 from Southern Company, where she was senior vice president of finance and treasurer. She is responsible for all TVA financial functions, including treasury, accounting, risk management, financial planning and investor relations.

Thursday, May 7, 8:30 a.m., College of Communication and Information
• Author and Knoxville News Sentinel humor columnist Sam Venable. Venable began his career with the News Sentinel in 1970 after serving as a police reporter and feature writer for the Knoxville Journal and the Chattanooga News-Free Press. He has written 10 books including “Someday I May Find Honest Work” and “You Gotta Laugh to Keep from Cryin’: A Baby Boomer Contemplates Life Beyond Fifty.”

Thursday, May 7, 10 a.m., Chancellor’s Honors Graduation Brunch, University Center Ballroom
• Harold Ford Jr., chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council. This event is for top graduates. Ford represented Tennessee in the U.S. Congress for 10 years, serving on both the financial services and budget committees. Ford also serves as a news analyst for NBC and MSNBC and is a visiting professor of public policy at Vanderbilt University.

Friday, May 8, 3 p.m.; College of Business Administration
• Andy Taylor, a partner with Gerber/Taylor Associates in Memphis. Taylor received a bachelor of science in transportation from UT in 1972 and served as a captain in the U.S. Army. He co-founded Gerber/Taylor Associates, an investment consulting firm, in 1990.

Friday, May 8, 7 p.m.; College of Law
• Roberta S. Karmel, Centennial Professor of Law and co-director of the Dennis J. Block Center for the Study of International Business Law at Brooklyn Law School. Karmel practiced law in New York City for more than 30 years. She has served as a commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission, a public director of the New York Stock Exchange and a member of the National Adjudicatory Council of the National Association of Securities Dealers Regulation (NASDR).

Other graduation ceremonies will feature professors and campus administrators. For a complete list of activities, visit

Before the graduation ceremonies kick into full gear, students will unwind Tuesday evening, May 5, at the Kickoff to Commencement Celebration, an annual event held to honor all spring and summer graduates. The evening begins with Aloha Oe at 6 p.m. at the Torchbearer, as seniors gather for a candlelight ceremony signifying their continuing journey. Following Aloha Oe, students will make their way to Thompson-Boling Arena for a free concert by the band Sister Hazel.


Rebekah Winkler (865-974-8304,