Skip to main content
Graduates flip their tassels during a commencement ceremony at Thompson-Boling Arena on May 20, 2022. Photo by Steven Bridges/University of Tennessee.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will welcome approximately 1,363 graduates into its alumni family as they are honored during fall commencement ceremonies on Friday, Dec. 16.

Former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam will address graduates as the keynote speaker at 9 a.m. in Thompson-Boling Arena.

Graduate hooding will take place at 3 p.m. at the arena. Doctoral candidate Ashley Reeves will address those receiving their degrees during the ceremony.

The university will award approximately 1,006 undergraduate degrees and 357 graduate degrees and certificates. Six Army and three Air Force ROTC cadets will be commissioned during the undergraduate ceremony.

Both ceremonies will be webcast live on the commencement website.

Bill Haslam

Bill Haslam

Bill Haslam served as the 49th governor of Tennessee. Under his leadership, the state became recognized as a national leader in education, economic development, efficient and effective government, and fiscal strength.

During his tenure, Tennessee students were the fastest improving in the country in academic achievement, and high school graduation rates reached an all-time high. Tennessee became the first state in the nation to offer high school graduates and adults two years of community or technical college free of mandatory tuition and fees.

Before serving as governor, Haslam served two terms as mayor of Knoxville from 2003 to 2011.

Since returning to the private sector, Haslam continues to be engaged with local and national issues. He is currently chair of the Wilson Center and serves on the national board of directors for both Teach for America and Young Life. He is also co-chair of the Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy.

Haslam is the author of Faithful Presence: The Promise and Peril of Faith in the Public Square and co-hosts the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center podcast You Might be Right with fellow former Tennessee Gov, Phil Bredesen.

Haslam and his wife, Crissy, have been married for 40 years and have three children and 10 grandchildren.

Ashley Reeves

Ashley Reeves

Doctoral candidate Ashley Reeves will speak at the graduate hooding on Dec. 16.

Growing up in Eads, Tennessee, Reeves was surrounded by animals and knew her future would be in veterinary medicine. Reeves began her professional studies as a veterinary student at UT in 2015 in the dual DVM-PhD program and received her DVM in 2019.

Reeves’ PhD research laid the foundation for an effective model to support the ocelot population in Texas. This study, which is being conducted in collaboration with Texas A&M University-Kingsville and the Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife, adds significantly to research on species conservation and highlights UT at national and international levels.

After graduation, Reeves will take a position with the East Foundation in south Texas, where she will continue her work with ocelot recovery and expand her efforts in conservation to other species.

Parking and Security Information

Graduates and their guests can park free of charge in university student parking areas throughout campus but should avoid parking in staff parking areas. View the UT Parking and Transit website for details.

The university’s clear bag policy will be enforced. Security screenings will be in place and guests will be screened on entry by event security staff. Binoculars, cameras and video cameras are permissible without cases. Smoking, including e-cigarettes, is prohibited in and on all university property, including in private vehicles parked or in operation on university property.

For more information on what items are allowed and prohibited in the stadium as well as security policies, visit the commencement website.


Erica Estep (865-974-2225,

Maggie Palmer (865-974-3993,