The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, celebrated the investiture of Donde Plowman, the ninth chancellor today.
Students, staff and Plowman’s colleagues -both past and present- gathered in the new Student Union auditorium to watch the investiture take place.
University academics had the front row seat for the ceremony, and some spoke about Plowman’s impact thus far.
“On her very first day on the job, she asked to meet with me,” Natalie Campbell, Student Government Association president, said. “She asked to meet with me in my little office in the student union to talk about student concerns.”
Anne Smith, a friend and colleague of Chancellor Plowman, spoke about her admiration for Plowman.
“Becoming a leader on campus requires courage and I admire women like [Chancellor Plowman] for taking such visible roles,” Smith said.
Randy Boyd, the interim president, presented Plowman with the chancellor’s medallion which bears the names of all previous chancellors.
The audience gave a standing ovation as Plowman took to the podium. She opened by saying that the last four months has “felt like coming home.”
“I’ve been on a listening tour, accepting almost every invitation that comes in. Each week I hold office hours and meet with faculty and students,” Plowman said.
Plowman recalled courageous volunteers such as Bill Bass and Pat Summit and how their legacy impacted UT.
“Because of these trailblazers and so many more, we are here where we are today,” Plowman said. “Today the University of Tennessee is graduating with more students, conducting more high impact research, connecting with more Tennesseans and garnering more support than ever before.”
Plowman finished her speech by discussing what she plans to achieve during her tenure as chancellor.
“We are the volunteers. We bear the torch. We give light to others,” Plowman said. “It is in the DNA of Tennesseans to step forward in service and in leadership. Let’s give new energy to what it means to be a leader. Imagine the Power T as a symbol of courage.”
The University’s choir sang UT’s alma mater following Plowman’s speech. A reception followed when the event was finished.
Edited by Ainsley Kelso and Grace Goodacre
Featured image by Maddie Torres