Campus News

Secretary of State Hargett to deliver spring commencement address at UT Martin


Contact 1: Joe Lofaro


MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin commencement will be May 3 with Secretary of State Tre Hargett delivering the commencement address. Set for 11 a.m. in the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center, 769 graduates are eligible to receive diplomas.

A live commencement webcast will be available courtesy of the OVC Digital Network at

UT Martin Chancellor Dr. Tom Rakes will preside over the exercises and confer degrees. Dr. Nell Gullet, UT Alumni Association Alumni Distinguished Service Professor, will be the mace bearer, and the processional marshals will be Dr. Jefferson S. Rogers, faculty senate president; Dr. Brian Donavant, faculty senate vice president; Nancy J. Yarbrough, interim vice chancellor for finance and administration; and Andrew A. Wilson, vice chancellor for university advancement.

Delana Easley, UT Martin accompanist, will perform the processional, and Tomaso Albinoni will perform special music.

Immediately following commencement, a reception will be hosted in Skyhawk Fieldhouse.

Hargett was elected by the Tennessee General Assembly to serve as Tennessee’s 37th Secretary of State in 2009 and re-elected in 2013. He is the chief executive officer of the department of state with oversight of more than 300 employees. He also serves on 15 boards and commissions, on two of which he is the presiding member, impacting every department and agency in state government.

Since elected secretary of state, he has made it his priority to increase transparency in state government by working with his colleagues in making the proceedings of numerous boards and commissions more accessible to the public.

After taking office in 2009, he took the lead in promoting a culture in state government that places a premium on customer service and leveraging technology to create efficiencies and savings for the taxpayer.

Hargett continues to lead his colleagues in the department of state in setting the standard for excellence in government through promoting the core values of exceptionalism, collaboration, integrity and stewardship.

In 2010, Hargett was chosen as a Henry Toll Fellow, an honor given to 40 of the nation’s top state government officials. Additionally, he is a member of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) where he serves as president, and he serves on the board of directors of the YMCA Youth in Government program and the executive committee of the Republican Secretaries of State Committee.

Previously, he served as chairman of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority. Before joining the Tennessee Regulatory Authority, he was regional vice president for a publicly traded emergency services provider.

Hargett also served for 10 years in the Tennessee House of Representatives, during which time he was twice elected Republican leader by his colleagues. He was a driving force behind several measures to increase transparency in government, including increased electronic disclosure of campaign contributions and increasing the requirements of officials’ public statements of interest.

Hargett earned a B.B.A. in accounting with honors from Memphis State University and his M.B.A. from the University of Memphis. A native of Ripley, he now lives in Hendersonville with his wife, Dawn, and their two sons.

Each graduate will receive up to six free tickets to admit his or her guests.

Overflow seating with a video and audio feed of the ceremony will be provided in the fieldhouse for all guests without tickets. Graduates can get their tickets at the Grand Finale Senior Walk on April 23 and later that afternoon immediately following the student commencement practice in the Elam Center. Tickets for graduating students will remain available in the Office of Academic Records until 4:30 p.m., May 2.

Any tickets not claimed by 4:30 p.m., May 2, will be distributed to the general public at a designated area outside the Elam Center beginning at 9 a.m. before the spring commencement ceremony, May 3.



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