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KNOXVILLE — Thousands of graduates and their families and friends converged on the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, this week to celebrate spring commencement.

More than 3,900 undergraduate students were eligible to participate in this week’s commencement ceremonies, which combined graduates from the spring and summer terms. Students receiving advanced degrees also were recognized this week in a graduate hooding ceremony. Master’s degrees were awarded to 609 students, and 106 earned doctoral degrees. Six earned educational specialist degrees and nineteen earned graduate certificates.

During the week’s ceremonies, thirty-five graduates were commissioned as second lieutenants in the United States armed forces.

Individual college commencement ceremonies held Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday featured many notable speakers—from Women’s National Basketball Association star, Tamika Catchings, to the CEO of McCormick & Company, the nationwide spice and flavorings retailer, Alan Wilson, both of whom are UT alumni.

The job market is showing signs of improvement this year. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers expected to hire 19 percent more college graduates in 2011 than last year. Although final hiring numbers won’t be known until mid-June, employer activity was up 21 percent on UT’s campus this past year.

“UT students in engineering, logistics, and accounting have seen multiple offers,” said Russ Coughenour, director of UT’s Career Services office. “There have definitely been a lot of student appointments concerning salary negotiations, and that is always a good sign.”

Pictures, webcasts and information from the various ceremonies can be found at http://www.utk.edu/commencement/spring11/.


Beth Gladden (865-974-9008, bgladden@utk.edu)