20 Reasons to Love UT

When you think about UT, what makes you smile? From our academics to our traditions and our campus to the people who give it life, here are just a few things our students, faculty, staff, and alumni love about this place we call home sweet home.

Because Vols Bear the Torch

The Torchbearer statue is a symbol that resonates with me and makes me proud of my association with UT. Though I did not go to school at the University of Tennessee, I feel that the Torchbearer speaks volumes about the energy and longevity of the Volunteer spirit. The Volunteer Creed inspires me and reminds me of my commitment and duty to our local and global community; it reminds me to remain selfless, to do work for the betterment of my community and when given opportunities to lead, to do so with a servant leadership approach.” —Albrianna, Center for Global Engagement

Because Student Success is Everyone’s Success

I believe the university does a tremendous job providing professors and students alike with an abundance of resources for our success. This in turn creates an environment that is both collaborative and supportive. It truly makes UT feel like home even while in class or doing homework. I believe that this environment and three-way support system (university, professors, and students) have helped me grow as a student, but even more so as a person.” —Alex, Class of 2024

Because We Welcome the World to Rocky Top

International FestivalMy relationship with UT started in 2012, when I was nominated by the US Embassy Skopje [North Macedonia] to take part at the US State Department’s inauguralGlobal Sports Mentoring Program. The implementing partner of this prestige women-in-sports program is the UT-based Center for Sport, Peace, and Society. Ever since, I have been developing a strong connection and respect for UT.” –Ilina, Graduate Student

Because Relationships Built Here are Priceless

Students walking to classWhen I think about UT, the first thing that comes to mind is the incredible people I’ve met on campus. Community here is inevitable. Even though it’s a big school, there’s so many ways to figure out where you fit in. My experience at UT has been defined by the relationships I’ve built with my professors and the people in the clubs I’m in. There’s nothing like walking into HSS and being reminded that I’m about to see some of my favorite people.” —Abby, Class of 2024

Because UT is Reimagining How the Humanities and Sciences Can Work Together

The humanities today offer the public new ways to engage with the past and the present, connecting humanities research with fields such as medicine, energy studies, environmental studies, and data studies and expanding the impact of arts, literature, and history into local communities.

Recently UT made a transformational investment in the Humanities Center, committing more than $700,000 annually in support of making the center a self-sustaining nationally recognized hub for humanities research and allowing it to align with emerging areas of interdisciplinary research—positioning faculty and students to meet the rising demand among top global businesses and government agencies for critical thinking skills and cultural awareness.

“The direction in which the humanities at the national level are moving is completely in sync with the land-grant mission of the University of Tennessee. We are bringing our expertise to new scholarly fields and public communities to help make people’s lives better,” says UT Humanities Center Director Amy Elias.

Read more about UT’s investment in the humanities.

Because We are a University on the Rise

I’m proud of the direction our flagship university is headed. Our leadership team is doing a great job during a time of turmoil in our world. The huge increase in applications tells you all you need to know about how UT is viewed across the nation.”—John (’84)

Because Education at UT is for All

I love that UT is committed to education for all students, but also for staff. The tuition fee waiver is one of the most incredible benefits, and it’s allowing me to complete my master’s degree at nearly no cost. I never would’ve had that opportunity elsewhere, and I can’t wait to use what I’m learning to make UT an even better place to live, work, and learn.” —Sam (’11, ’23), Facilities Services

Because We’re Passionate about Hands-On Learning

I am incredibly proud to be a small part of almost every Vol Nurse experience. Students from all clinical programs in the College of Nursing have simulation curricula in their coursework, so the reach of what we do in the simulated learning environment is massive. Student-simulated learning experiences have the potential to impact every patient they encounter for the remainder of their nursing career. Even though I do not go with them to the clinical setting as the simulation director, it brings me joy to know the impact of what I do can potentially translate to improved patient care and better patient outcomes.”—Susan, College of Nursing

Nurses and Dummy

Because UT Prepares Students for What Comes Next

First and foremost, I think it is a great academic school. I am a proud alumna of the College of Nursing that is known for its tough comprehensive curriculum. I felt completely prepared for my first job and have leaned on that education throughout my career. The University of Tennessee gave me great opportunities to grow personally, socially, and academically. There is an abundance of areas to become involved and stay involved.” —Stacy (’98)

Because There’s Nothing Like Neyland Stadium and Game Day

I grew up going to Tennessee football games and love looking back on those memories. I was also in the Pride of the Southland Marching Band—my favorite part of game day was doing Salute to the Hill right outside of the stadium. You can feel the buzz of the campus all starting to concentrate right on Neyland Stadium!”—Marcus (’13, ’16)

Drum Major Hendon

Because There’s a Place for Everyone

The plethora of clubs and organizations available on campus. I am proud that there are so many places on campus that can allow such a large university to feel small and allow everyone to find their own little communities. The feeling of community and safety cannot be taken for granted. I am proud that fellow students have created these spaces.” —Madisun, Class of 2024

Because We are Establishing Tennessee as a Hub of Innovation

Knoxville is poised to become the next innovation hub, and UT’s Spark Innovation Center is investing in and nurturing the businesses that will make that happen.

The Knoxville–Oak Ridge area is one of the only locations in the United States to have a cluster of three energy-focused business accelerators for tech start-ups: the Spark Innovation Center, Innovation Crossroads at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator, backed by the largest venture capital fund in the nation for early-stage tech companies and jointly supported by UT, ORNL, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. The strategic alignment of those accelerators within the larger innovation ecosystem in East Tennessee fills gaps and connects key resources in the region for tech startups.

Read more about how UT is sparking innovation.

Because We are Vols for Life

I am immensely proud of the fact that we have an alumni association that works so hard to keep graduates engaged. There are infinite ways to remain connected and to give back once you graduate and I know that that’s not the case with every higher education institution.”—Nathan (’07)

Because Our Students are the Best

The students and alumni make UT a special place to be. The passion that enrolled students bring to the residential campus experience here is remarkable. And that passion extends well beyond their time on Rocky Top.” —Courtney, College of Communication and Information

“The students make me proud to be associated with UT. I love how supportive, involved, and friendly everyone is . . . it’s so inspiring!”—Amelya, Class of 2025

Torch NIght Farewell

Because Our Traditions Bind Us Together

SmokeyI’ll be the first to tell you I don’t have any love for sports. But last September, due to some particular job responsibilities, I found myself standing on top of Neyland Stadium during the first game of the season. I watched the stadium filling, tried to figure out how in the world the Pride of the Southland Band could walk around just spelling out words like that, and I was nearly eyeball-to-eyeball with the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter pilots doing their flyover. When the Vols ran out onto the field and the fans erupted, I got it. I finally understood, just a little, what it is that makes people so excited to be even a tiny part of the remarkable, expansive, growing world of UT. It’s about being part of something bigger than yourself, something that can do more than you can on your own. The alumni, the fans—they all see that. It’s a very exciting thing to be a part of. But I do still regret not buying a Smokey popcorn bucket at the game!” —Beth, Facilities Services

Because Campus is Magical

CelloistI would have to say the Natalie Haslam Music Center is my favorite place on campus. It’s where I started my UT journey. I loved coming in each night and hearing the different groups practice— the building is full of life always from drums and trumpets echoing through the halls to the opera singers hitting high C notes in the stairwells. The staff and faculty are so nice and friendly to everyone, and it shows big time. From the great people in the [music] library all the way to the director, everyone is so kind and it makes for the perfect atmosphere and great work environment. Also seeing all the different people come by to leave their mark on the Rock is always nice.”—Tyler, Facilities Services

“The Clarence Brown Theatre is my favorite spot. It’s where I performed as an undergrad and still get to occasionally as an alum. So much magic happens there” —John (’84)

Read more about Vols’ favorite places on campus.

Because We See the Potential in All Our Volunteers

Research Machining CompetitionUT has been among the country’s top-producing universities for Fulbright Scholars for the past five years, led the nation in Goldwater Scholars in 2020, and has had three Rhodes Scholars since 2014. The university’s recent fellowship success reflects the excellence of students and faculty, spanning all academic disciplines. Prestigious awards like the Fulbright, Goldwater, and Rhodes reflect an investment of time and resources that begins early in students’ academic careers. UT’s Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships works directly with students through the process— from bolstering their resume with early research opportunities to writing consultations that support students as they compose applications for nationally competitive fellowships. The Division of Student Success takes pride in not just supporting the high-achieving students but seeing the potential in all Volunteers and helping them find the right opportunities to enrich their college experience. When students have a chance to study abroad, participate in high-impact research, or earn a fellowship in the field they love, it can be life-changing and help prepare them to be leaders in their careers and communities.

Because UT Makes an Impact on the World

Our students are from all over the world. I am so proud that they are trying to learn and take something back to their country and pass it on. UT touches not only people here in Tennessee but all over the world. I am still in touch with several of the students by email and LinkedIn. It is wonderful to see how much they have grown in their business and personal lives.”—Sandra, Tickle College of Engineering

Because Our Grads Want Tennessee to Thrive

Lily DuncanMore and more, our Vols are staying in Tennessee after they graduate to help fill high-impact jobs and grow the state’s economy. UT’s Center for Career Development and Academic Exploration gathered information from 81 percent of 2022 bachelor’s degree graduates. Ninety percent of them had either found jobs within six months of graduation or opted to continue their education. Of those who provided details about their work, 60 percent had stayed in Tennessee, and of those, 50 percent had stayed in the Knoxville area. And 2023 grads seem to be continuing this trend. Read more about recent grads like Lily Duncan, who completed her master’s degree through the PreK–3 Teacher Licensure program and wants to stay in Knoxville to teach kindergarten.

Because We’re Proud to Be Tennessee Vols

Tennessee Plaque that reads "I will give my all for Tennessee today!"

No matter what, UT emphasizes Volunteer pride and recognizes that we’re different from other SEC schools in the best ways possible. I love being at a place that is unique, and what makes that even better is being around people who are proud of being unique.”—Abby, Class of 2024

I am proud to be a part of such a passionate community. No matter where you are around the world, the Power T unites us as one. There is no doubt that everyone is proud to call themselves a Volunteer!”—Savannah (’23)

Leave a comment and let us know what makes you proud about UT or email us at torch@utk.edu.

You may also like


Patricia Jean Gordon July 24, 2023 - 8:08 pm

Yes, yes, yes; I LOVE me some U.T. I have always returned to the campus which has brought back soo-ooo-ooo many memories when I was a student. I’m a graduate of the 1992 school year, and I am so proud to be a part of this GREAT school which has so much to offer! Being an alumnus brings an awesome feeling of pride and accomplishment. Let’s keep this Rocky Top ball rolling and continue to support the dream!!!

Fritz Siegel August 11, 2023 - 2:02 pm

I am SO SO proud of my school because it makes me feel at home.

Eric Brown August 11, 2023 - 2:10 pm


Jeannie O August 12, 2023 - 7:39 pm

My first association with the University of Tennessee was win two of my children needed speech therapy. It was recommended by the first grade teacher in our school. The staff we worked with helped my children, put together sentences, practice sounds, and totally encouraged and successfully taught my children how to push through and learn the sounds they needed for correct speech that has lasted a lifetime!
Though I am a Hokie through and through, the University of Tennessee, & the City of Knoxville have become my forever home. 🧡

1x January 14, 2024 - 4:18 am

These testimonials beautifully capture the essence of the University of Tennessee experience.

Comments are closed.