Of all of the challenges we’ve endured this year – a global pandemic, social unrest, political turmoil to name a few – I think one of the most important things for us to recognize is how we have worked together and persevered through what I’m sure we can all agree was one of the most difficult years we’ve ever experienced. The University of Tennessee at Martin has a history of resilience, and I am proud that we did not lose sight of our mission during these trying times.
Regardless of how impossible our circumstances have seemed since last March, we have persisted and moved forward. In the midst of uncertainty, our faculty developed new and creative ways to reach their students. Campus offices came up with innovative ideas to serve our faculty and students. Our student health, physical plant and campus safety offices brought forward new ways to keep our students, faculty and staff safe.
Not only have our active university community members played an important role in our success over the past year, so have our alumni and donors. When in-person instruction was suspended last spring, many of our hardworking students were temporarily displaced from their campus and community jobs. Through numerous donations by our alumni and community members, we were able to raise over $25,000 to provide stipends for out-of-work students struggling through the pandemic.
Furthermore, during our 2021 Captain’s Challenge fundraiser, we not only met our goal, but exceeded it exponentially, raising over $420,000 in just 24 hours! While we know the pandemic has caused a strain for so many people, it is heartwarming to see so many donors feeling led to support the university as we strive to serve our students and the community.
Our ability to persevere is evident in the impact our university has continued to make during the pandemic, and I could not be more excited to see the proof of our hard work once we have returned fully in-person to campus this fall.
What a testament it is to the history and strength of UT Martin that after more than a year of virtual and hybrid learning, we will see Skyhawks back on campus in just a short amount of time.
It’s a great day to be a Skyhawk!