Several hundred people, including many student and alumni veterans, attended the grand opening of the Veterans Resource Center in John C. Hodges Library in November. The center provides student veterans with a place to study, socialize and find access to various campus services. The festivities featured a video message from country music icon Charlie Daniels, whose Journey Home Project donated $10,000 to outfit the new center with technology.
Quilts of Valor were presented to two student veterans and two employee veterans, and all attendees received commemorative military challenge coins. More than 900 veterans, service members and their family members are enrolled at UT on Veterans Affairs benefits. The university ranks 31st among all public universities in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges for Veterans, has the state’s VETS Campus designation and was Tennessee’s first Purple Heart University.
Campus Stands Against Racism
More than 400 members of the Volunteer community turned out on a Friday in February to plaster a rainbow of handprints on the Rock as a show of unity and a stand against racism and hate. United at the Rock Against Racism was organized by the Campus Ministers Council in collaboration with the Student Government Association and the Faculty Senate. United at the Rock featured a candlelight ceremony; the reading of a statement of intent, hope and action; and the singing of “Draw the Circle Wide” by Mark Miller and Gordon Light.
Meacham Receives Honorary Degree
Presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the College of Arts and Sciences at its commencement ceremony in December. Meacham addressed graduates, urging them to embrace their Tennessee spirit by learning from the past and thinking for themselves.
“I am a Tennessean by birth, education and inclination,” he said. “We were the last state to secede and the first to rejoin the Union—we were a purple state in the era before we talked about red and blue. From the beginning, the daughters and the sons of Tennessee have thought for themselves. We don’t like being told what to do or how to view