By Mark La Branche
The recent addition of our campus as the fourth undergraduate campus in the University of Tennessee System is a bold demonstration of the power of one.
The values we aspire to as captured in Be One UT were a driving force in this innovative and historic move.
It began with the acknowledgement that we share in one vital mission. As a land-grant university, we play a critical role in our state and global society with a mission too large for any of us to fulfill alone. The true strength of our system is not in what one of our institutions achieves by itself but in what we accomplish together. Extraordinary progress happens when a united and connected system of diverse institutions and individuals respond to the disparate needs and opportunities before us in Tennessee and beyond. The UT system excels when we share in each other’s strengths and assist with each other’s weaknesses.
UT Southern is uniquely situated in rural southern Middle Tennessee. Poised to provide accessible and affordable educational opportunities where the college going rate is lagging, it will graduate professionals desperately needed in all fields. It is difficult to overestimate the optimism and renewed sense of vison and hope that now reverberate throughout the region.
The presence of one UT promises to be transformational. But the impact will be determined in large part by how well we live out our UT values. These values were clearly evident in the process of our acquisition. The mission alignment was magnificent as demonstrated by the supportive embrace of our colleagues throughout the system. The entire UT family welcomed us with open arms, happy to extend our one mission to a new region. Transparency and trust proved essential values as we navigated through all the complexities of the process of becoming one with you.
Now, imagine what can and will happen if we can continue to unleash the power of one. Will you Be One UT?
Will you expand your vision to see yourself as much more than a graduate, staff member, faculty member, administrator and/or steward of an individual institution in order to see yourself as a part of the whole, the one?
Imagine what can and will happen if the excellence we can achieve in our diverse domains could be combined and unleashed to address the grand challenges of our day.
Can we be willingly and radically generous in combining our strengths with a view of the needs of the entire state and world? Imagine the power of Be One UT stepping into those gaps and the lives changed.
There is nothing more powerful and needed than the power of one.
Mark La Branche is the chancellor of UT Southern.