Tell Us A Story

By Alexa Goddard

Courtesy Photos

Adobe Stock Photo

The college experience is filled with more than just lectures and exams. It’s a tapestry woven with friendships, memories and stories, which linger long after graduation day. Here are a few responses from alumni asked about their favorite memories.

“Every student wants the show College GameDay to come to campus. Not many students have the chance to actually be on the show. I was fortunate enough to find myself in that position in 2012. As a Smokey handler, you are his caretaker whether you’re taking him for a walk or running through the T. In this case, he needed some assistance when Lee Corso was going to pick the Volunteers to beat Florida. Smokey and I sat behind the famous GameDay desk with Chris Fowler, Kenny Chesney, Des Howard, Kirk Herbstreit and Corso right in front of us. The time came for Corso to call on Smokey. With sweaty palms and shaky legs, I nervously managed to place Smokey on the desk for the college football world to see. It may have only been two seconds, but this senior from Brownsville, Tennessee, made his television debut. We won’t get into who won the game, and I’ve blocked the score from my memory. I like to remember the day being about Smokey. Even to this day, I keep an eye out when GameDay is in Knoxville, just to see if another handler will get his opportunity for a few seconds of fame.”

Trey McAdams
Knoxville ’13

“We all remember Chantek (orangutan who lived at UTC, featured in Spring 2020 issue), don’t we? I remember high-fiving him as he was on the shoulders of somebody going down Vine Street. He seemed to want to do it, and he loved it!”

Robert “Bob” Mulkey
Chattanooga ’84

“I got tackled by two football players while photographing a game for the student newspaper two months into my freshman year and broke my arm.”

Sarah Singer
Martin ’19

“Working in the communications department, I got the opportunity to work for the campus radio station, WUTM, as a news director and program director. Through the radio station, I attended the Country Radio Seminar, where our department was awarded scholarship money to help students majoring in communications with a focus in broadcasting. I also got the chance to work for ESPN+ to broadcast games.”

Tatum Baldwin
Martin ’22

“My junior semester in the BFA program, we had tons of projects back to back. As the semester went on, the tougher it got, projects after projects. I sat in the design studio before class and said to myself, ‘I feel like I haven’t had a chance to breathe this semester.’ A classmate that I rarely talked to agreed with me, and that sparked a conversation between the two of us. That day we found out we had a lot in common. As the semester went on, I continued with my schedule of three classes in the morning, with my first class starting at 8 a.m., leaving for work and working until 10 p.m. and around 10:15 p.m. being back on campus until about 3 a.m. This had become my everyday schedule. It became such a norm that, when I’d call campus security, they would say, “Got you in, Ms. Bowser,” and would unlock the door. I went a little later one day to see if they’d still be able to tell it was me. That’s when I learned they had a camera, and he said he was waiting for me to come to the door. After that I felt much safer on campus and more comfortable to work alone at night.”

Dahlia Bowser
Chattanooga ’23

“How I proposed to my wife! I was a music major, and she sang in choir for fun. When it came time to propose to her, I arranged This I Promise You by N’Sync (her favorite from childhood) for my all-male contemporary a cappella group called VOLume. At our last concert of the year in the spring, I had one of my guys pull her up out of the audience, and I sang it to her with VOLume and proposed at the end. It was a packed house in Cox Auditorium that night, and the place went nuts.”

Landon Paul
Knoxville ’14 & ’16

“I worked in the UTC Admissions Office with my best friend while in college. One afternoon, we got sent on an errand and decided to take a detour through Patten Chapel. We then thought that it would be a good idea to climb up into the bell tower. We were having a great time, giggling and carrying on. Needless to say, our voices echoed eerily, and campus security was dispatched to check it out. I don’t know who was more scared when we encountered each other in the stairwell: two silly girls who were very obviously not where they were supposed to be or the security guard who thought he was about to have definitive proof that Patten Chapel was haunted like everyone thought. Needless to say, UTC saw fit to lock the door to the bell tower after that.”

Lee Ann Adams
Chattanooga ’94; Knoxville ’97