Skip to main content

More than 4,000 students, including 3,038 undergraduates, 805 graduate, 96 law, and 82 veterinary medicine students, will participate in commencement ceremonies next week at UT.

The university will award honorary degrees to Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt; Tennessee’s 48th governor, Phil Bredesen; and HGTV founder Ken Lowe. They are among several industry and academic leaders who will address UT’s graduates.

UT students and their families, along with well-wishers, are invited to post their commencement photos and messages on social media with the hashtag #utgrad2017.

For full details concerning security, parking, ceremonies, and speakers, see the Spring Commencement 2017 website.

Here are some key points:


Commencement ceremonies are large events, and the university follows the standard security protocol it uses for large crowds.

Graduates and guests should arrive early for every ceremony.

To expedite entry into the arena:

  • Do not carry bags or purses unless necessary.
  • Carry cameras without bags.
  • Leave graduation robes unzipped while passing through security.
  • Have purses and bags open and ready for inspection when approaching security.


There is ongoing construction along Cumberland Avenue and Volunteer Boulevard. Drivers should use Neyland Drive, Lake Loudoun Boulevard, and Phillip Fulmer Way.

Free parking is available for all graduates and their guests in student parking areas: 

  • The G-10 Garage located next to Thompson-Boling Arena (enter from Neyland Drive or Phillip Fulmer Way) or any student surface parking lot that displays a sign with the letter C or N (for example, C-6) is open for commencement parking.
  • Accessible parking spaces are available in the G-10 Parking Garage and in many other UT parking lots.

Commencement parking is prohibited in all staff parking areas (marked S) on Thursday and Friday.


 Thursday, May 11

  • College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, 8:30 a.m., UT alumnus Isaac Bennett, vice president and capital markets manager for Farm Credit Bank of Texas 
  • Tickle College of Engineering, noon, UT alumnus Bennett Croswell, president, military engines, Pratt & Whitney
  • College of Communication and Information, 3:30 p.m., Ken Lowe, chairman of the board, president, and CEO of Scripps Networks Interactive and honorary degree recipient
  • Graduate Hooding, 7 p.m., Phil Bredesen, former governor of Tennessee and honorary degree recipient

Friday, May 12 

  • College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences, 8:30 a.m., UT alumna Sarah Hillyer, director of the Center for Sport, Peace, and Society
  • College of Social Work, noon, student and faculty speakers
  • College of Architecture and Design, 3 p.m., UT alumnus Patrick Hazari, director of design and construction at Friends of the High Line in New York City
  • College of Nursing, 7 p.m., student and faculty speakers

Saturday, May 13

  • College of Arts and Sciences, 9 a.m., Harrison Schmitt, Apollo 17 astronaut, former US senator, and honorary degree recipient.
  • College of Veterinary Medicine, 10 a.m. (James R. Cox Auditorium, Alumni Memorial Building), Joe Bartges, former faculty member who is now a professor of internal medicine and nutrition at the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Haslam College of Business, 2 p.m. UT alumnus Charlie Anderson, CEO of Anderson Media Corporation and a UT trustee 
  • College of Law, 5 p.m., Paulette Brown, immediate past president of the American Bar Association



Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,