University Kudos

The Office of the Chancellor

University of Tennessee at Martin

325 Administration Building

Martin, TN 38238


(731) 881-7500


(731) 881-7019


University Kudos


University Kudos is our way of showing you some of the wonderful things that people are saying about UT Martin and its employees.


If you see a kudo here and you know that person, take a moment to pat them on the back and congratulate them!


To: Dr. Tom Rakes, UT Martin Chancellor

I wanted to brag on one of your coaches. After graduation this past year, my son Andrew Laman received scholarship offers from UT Knoxville, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State to be a Student Assistant Volleyball Coach. We were very excited about these offers. Wanting to place Andrew in an atmosphere that would help to prepare him for life, as well as shape his adult life, I asked a simple question to Crockett County Volleyball Coach Bobby Rawson. “Which of these colleges would be the best for Andrew?” His answer was not what I expected. He said, “I would go to UT Martin.” My next comment was, “We did not have an offer from UT Martin.” Naturally I was puzzled. Coach Rawson said he would call Coach McClure and try to set up a time we could meet. We met with Coach McClure and Coach Noe and were very impressed. Coach McClure gave us a tour of the campus and answered the many questions we had. The entire time that we were with Coach McClure, I remembered a statement that Coach Rawson had made. He told me, “If it were my son, I would want him to work under someone like Darrin McClure.” After spending time with Coach McClure I was thinking the same thing.


While talking with Coach McClure I mentioned to him, “If teaching these kids volleyball is all you do, you are missing the point of what a parent expects from a college coach. Ten years from now these kids will not be playing volleyball. They will be young adults trying to fit in and survive in this fast- paced world we live in, using the Life Lessons that college coaches can impress upon them.” He stated that he worked hard at being more than just “another coach” to the girls. At that point I knew that he and I were on the same page.


Here we are in the middle of October. Andrew is now a full-time student majoring in math at UT Martin. He is working as a Student Assistant Coach under Coach McClure, and we are extremely happy. Over these past few months our family has grown to respect Coach McClure even more. He has been an excellent role model for Andrew, as well as the volleyball players. After talking with the parents of the players, I learned they are just as pleased as we are. We as parents realize that this time in our children’s lives is merely a stepping-stone that is to prepare them for their future lives. As a parent, I am proud that Coach McClure is influencing my son in a positive way.


Thanks so much for having a coach in place that cares for his players, assistant coaches, managers and the entire program. It truly is a blessing to have my son under his guidance. I felt the need to pass this on to you.



Brad Laman


Dear Dr. Rakes,

I am writing to you as the father of an incoming freshman girl, and simply wanted to tell you how pleased I have been with every single person I've been in contact with at UTM.

We very much enjoyed SOAR back in April, and are so looking forward to Savannah being there in a few weeks. I think she picked the perfect school for herself and our family.

Primarily I simply wanted to compliment you and all of the staff (and the students at SOAR) there on their courtesy, professionalism, and most of all, kindness. We have boy/girl twins at UT-Knoxville, but Savannah is our youngest, and she's going alone. As with many freshman parents, especially of a female, we've had tons of questions and concerns on many subjects. I just have to tell you that every single phone call and Email I've sent, has been responded to just as I have described. Every person in every department that I've contacted was just terrific. In today's world of poor and impersonal customer service, I just have to say it's been an absolute blessing.

Please pass along a big pat on the back from our family. We look forward to being part of yours.



Chuck Schwam
Germantown, TN


Dr. Greenwood, (Jennifer Greenwood, Assistant Professor of Biology)

After completing almost one year of pharmacy school, I have been reflecting back on my undergraduate experience. I wanted to let you know that I have felt very prepared for the pharmacy program in which I'm enrolled.  So far, I feel that my tests are equal to what I experienced at UTM, and I have performed fairly well.  This is an indication to me that I was wonderfully prepared to attend graduate school! Martin's biology and chemistry departments are definitely preparing their students for professional schools!  Thank you for all of your support as an advisor for me during my four years at UTM.  I hope this can be a word of encouragement for those that are preparing to attend graduate school as well!


Thank you again,

Emily Worrell Taylor


Chancellor Rakes,

I must take a moment to commend several members of the UT Martin Marching Band for the kindness they showed my daughter after the Christmas Parade Monday night.


My almost two-year-old daughter Jillian attended the Christmas Parade and she loved hearing the bands. After the parade she wanted "more music, more band!" So I took her back to the line up lot at the UTM football stadium parking lot to see if we could see some of the band members.


To her delight, we met a UTM piccolo player who offered to play her a Christmas song. "More music" Jillian said as the piccolo player finished her song. We then ran into a trio of UTM band members (saxophone, trombone and clarinet) who were eager to get out of those uniforms and get home. However, they, too, took just a moment to play her a song. They played the UT Martin fight song and cheer with as much enthusiasm as they had displayed downtown earlier that evening.


Their small act of kindness made the night extra special for my girl and it was great to see her clap her hands and smile to the fight song. She is still talking about the "music" today.


Misty Menees

Proud Alumnus

Class of 1998


Sent to Dr. Mark Simmons, UT Martin music faculty member, and Dr. Chris Mathews, Union University faculty member

Dear Dr. Simmons and Dr. Mathews:

Thank you to you, your students and staff for the beautiful performance of "Carmina Burana."


It was such a joy to be around your talented students and to see them progress through the rehearsals to a lovely performance! They seemed to brilliantly support each other through the troublesome areas of the piece and expand into such great performers by concert time. What fun to see two Universities working together to create such a great choir.


I look forward to working with both of you toward the 2013/2014 season of The Jackson Symphony when we plan another choral performance together.


What shall it be? Let's start dreaming.




R. Lee Warren

Executive Director

The Jackson Symphony


Dear Chancellor Rakes,

During spring break (2012) our daughter, Megan Riley, a dance education major, was fortunate enough to make the trip to New York City for dance training sponsored by the UTM Travel Study program.


While there, the students were able to dance under the instruction of two well-known dance schools. Mrs. Sarah McCormick and Mrs. Lorrie Jackson did an outstanding job of planning/coordinating and helping the students to prepare for the trip. They also worked to provide a feasible cost and financial assistance package. They were very attentive and knowledgeable chaperones and just went the extra mile! Somehow they kept track of and shuffled the students by subway, van, on foot, etc. ... to various dance classes, at different times and places, and also on sightseeing trips to important landmarks around the city.


Megan was especially proud to see the Statue of Liberty. Their visit to Ground Zero was very humbling for her. This entire NYC experience is one that we are certain Megan will never forget. She made lifelong memories and enriched her dancing skills, which undoubtedly will help her as she strives toward her goal of being a dance teacher.


The opportunity, financial assistance, and great planning were truly appreciated. We certainly hope that the university will continue to offer these types of trips to more UTM students in the future. (Megan would love to go to NYC again!)


THANK YOU - UTM - for your Travel Study Program and all it does to benefit, enrich, and bless your students!



Rusty and Peggy Riley


An email sent to UT Online

I wanted to applaud one of your online professors for an excellent class. As an online student, I value online instruction from the professor, use of additional resources, a well-organized syllabus, and quick responses to questions. Although, I am only in the second week of Finance 301, Professor Haddad class is wonderful! He provided a detailed syllabus with: a timeline outlining class progression for the entire course and detailed expectations for all assignments and outside video resources.


In addition, he has provided a video for each section we cover during the course. In the videos, he goes over the course material from the text, how the text relates to the "real" world, and how homework assignments should be worked. Also, he demonstrates the various ways we can complete financial calculations using a finance calculator or Excel. His class allows an online student to feel a part of the classroom and not just a student number.


When it comes to financial calculations, algebra or statistics online students need this type of learning environment. It is essential to provide a student with the resources to succeed. At this time, I do not know if I will succeed in his class, however because of his instruction, I have an excellent opportunity to learn the concepts of Fundamentals of Corporate Finance 301 that will serve me during my career in business.



Dana Lynch-Toon


Dear Chancellor Rakes,

I want to commend and congratulate Dr. Nola Jones (UT Martin associate professor of music/director of bands) on an outstanding 2011 Honors Band Clinic. I have been attending and conducting Honor Bands for over twenty years. The experiences and exposure to your band and instrumental music programs, as well as your campus life ranks among the best I have ever witnessed. The students attending the Honors Band Clinic attended concerts by all of your instrumental music ensembles, received Master Classes on their instruments from your Applied Studio Faculty, and had appropriate opportunities to visit other areas of your campus. As one of this year's clinicians, I can attest to the impact that all of these experiences brought to the clinic. It was so enjoyable to work with excited young people. During the clinic, I heard nothing but glowing comments about this experience from the clinic students, their directors, and parents. I am convinced that this type of experience will lead to greater enrollment and involvement in your band program and university as a whole.


I am sure that your faculty and you have recognized the vibrant energy that Dr. Nola Jones brings to your university. I want to join all of you and state that she made all of UT Martin proud!


While I was on your campus, I saw many exciting things, including the building of the new Music Building. As a music educator, I want to thank you for the support you are providing for music at your university. Keep up the great work!



Joel L. Denton

Director of Bands

Chair, Department of Fine Arts

Ooltewah High School

Ooltewah, Tenn.


Dear Dr. Rakes,

Allison Jones and Josh Lemmons

My senior year of high school I stepped foot on the UT Martin campus for the first time. It became immediately apparent to me that UTM was a very friendly and tight-knit campus. When I left Martin that day, I added UTM to my list of schools I was interested in attending the next fall. When it came down to choosing a school, however, another university was my choice because it was so close to home. At the end of my freshman year, I decided to go back home to a community college for a year. I had every intent of going back to the university the next fall. However, it didn't take me long to realize that small classes and one-on-one relationships with professors was more appealing to me than large campus size, so I started to look at my other options. I remembered the trip I had taken to Martin two years before and how much I had liked the campus. I sent in my application that day.


In the year and a half that I have now been attending UT Martin, I have made some really great friends as well as become close with several of my professors. I have also been given many opportunities that I would not have had at any other university. I got to be on the broadcasting team that called most of the football games last season, went to WPSD-TV in Paducah, Ky., to help with election-night coverage, and I was also offered a job to be a part of the number one college radio station in the southeast, WUTM-FM 90.3. I also called the OVC Tournament games in Nashville. Most recently, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime to call the NCAA Tournament game in Durham, N.C. It's still hard for me to believe that I haven't been dreaming and will soon wake up.


There will be thousands of students from other universities around the country who can say that they attended the NCAA Tournament this year, however, not many can say that they were present at the press conferences, got a chance to meet ESPN producers, touched last year's men's national championship trophy and toured the inside of the Cameron Indoor Stadium. I got a chance to do all of those things while at Duke University, and it was all thanks to you and your support of our radio station. I will forever remember that I was given opportunities that most could only dream of, and I will be eternally thankful for being given the chance to have this type of experience while still in college.


Dr. Richard Robinson asked me a couple months ago if I wished I had come to Martin in the beginning, rather than first attending other institutions. While the answer is obviously "yes," I also know that even though I would have cherished these opportunities, I would not be able to appreciate them as much as I am able to now. Thank you again for allowing WUTM FM 90.3, "The Hawk" to have this experience.


Allison Jones


Dear Dr. Rakes and Dr. Helgeson (College of Engineering and Natural Sciences interim dean),

My name is Igor Veksler, and I am a Boy Scout Troop Leader of Troop 338, chartered by Hope Presbyterian Church in Cordova. I wanted to take a moment to express my appreciation for the educational program of the Reelfoot Lake Research and Teaching Center. My troop visited the center Jan. 29, and we spotted countless species of birds including bald eagles and toured the museum and attended the "Birds of Prey" presentation.


I also wanted to recognize Mrs. Kim Crews, center associate director, for her professionalism, dedication and willingness to go that "extra mile" to make this whole educational experience fun. As you may know, outdoors code, preservation of clean environment and wildlife education is a large part of scouting program, and we could not find a better person than Mrs. Crews to be part of this experience. This was our second annual visit to the center and thanks to Mrs. Crews, our troop considers it one of the best outings of the year.


On behalf of all scouts, troop leaders and parents, I want to thank Mrs. Crews and your program for such wonderful educational opportunity.



Igor Veksler, Troop 338 Committee Chairman


Dear Dr. Rakes,

I read with great interest the article in the current Campus Scene highlighting your trip to Hirosaki last summer and Dr. Endo's trip to UT Martin last October. It is hard for me to believe that UT Martin and Hirosaki University are celebrating the 30-year anniversary of the exchange program between the universities.


I am a 1985 graduate of UT Martin, having completed my course work in December, 1984. I was fortunate beyond description to also have been one of the early recipients of the Monbusho Scholarships awarded to a UT Martin student. I attended Hirosaki University on the Monbusho Scholarship as part of the UT Martin-Hirosaki exchange program between October 1982 and September 1983. That was the second year that UT Martin students went to study and live in Japan as part of the exchange program. I was lucky to have landed with a wonderful host family for the time that I spent in Hirosaki, the Tetsuzo Kakuta family. Following my graduation from law school at UT Knoxville in 1992, my wife and I took a trip through the Pacific region that ended in Japan, again in Hirosaki, to visit my host family. I still stay in touch with the Kakutas, and we have tentative plans as well to revisit Hirosaki in 2013 with our daughters.


While I know that he has passed, I have to offer my praise to the former International Programs Director at UT Martin, Dr. John Eisterhold. Undoubtedly, many people have played a part over the years in the numerous international programs in which UT Martin has been involved or sponsored, but Dr. Eisterhold laid the groundwork and, I believe, was largely responsible for UT Martin's relationship with Hirosaki. His vision and dedication in the area of international study affected more students than he probably ever realized, and I am fortunate to count myself as one of them.


While my original plans of pursuing an internationally oriented career following graduation did not come to pass, that in no way diminished the value of the formal education and life experiences I had while I was in Japan. That year abroad opened my eyes to not only another nation's history and culture, as distinct and diverse as Japan is from America, but it also left me with greater appreciation of what we have in the United States and what it means to be an American. That year was the highlight of all of the formal education I have ever received, and I count that year as one of the most beneficial experiences in my lifetime. I was fortunate to have attended UT Martin at the time I did and to have had the opportunities that the university made available.


I congratulate you and the facility for the continued success and ongoing relationship between UT Martin and Hirosaki University.


Best Regards.

Robert M. Burns


Dr. Tom Rakes,

A big pat on the back for UTM. Ryan Martin, in housing, deserves a special thanks. Last week, we had called him to discuss housing for our son, Johnathan, who will be attending UTM next fall as a freshman. We asked Ryan what would be a good day and time for us to visit. We were going to come in the afternoon. My wife and I both work in the Jackson-Madison County School System and could not get up there until school was out for us. Ryan ask us what we were doing Monday, Martin Luther King Day. We told him it was a holiday and did not want to impose on him on a day off. Well, I guess you can tell what his response was – "Come on up. I will meet with you, take you on a housing tour, show you our demonstration rooms, tour the Student Life Center, show you the new student fitness center and much more." My son has three friends living in Phase II, and Ryan helped him find their room and he got to visit with them. Johnathan was very, very impressed with UTM. Even though it was a holiday, raining a little and cold, we felt very "warm" with Ryan (even in his golf cart touring the campus from dorm to dorm). We thanked Ryan ourselves for taking time to personally care for us and Johnathan. He could have easily told us that all offices were closed for the holiday, and scheduled us for some other time. But, he did not. I feel he went above the call of duty to take care of us, and we very thankful. Please, from your end, let Ryan know that two alumni are grateful for what he did. It was truly an example of UTM spirit.


Thank you,

David (1974) and Deborah (1975) Warmbrod

Johnathan Warmbrod


Dear Dr. Rakes,

We would like to express our sincere appreciation for the rare opportunity to see The Cadets perform recently here at UTM. We took our children, ages 10, 11, and 12-year old twins to watch them practice on Wednesday night and to see the full program performed on Thursday night. This was indeed a privilege our family was able to enjoy thanks to UTM. We would welcome future events such as this here at UTM for our family to enjoy.


Thank you so much,

Richard and Kathy Vowell

Chancellor's Honor Roll

The outstanding academic achievements of undergraduate students at the University of Tennessee at Martin have been honored with publication of the Fall 2018 Chancellor's out-of-state Honor Roll and Fall 2018 Chancellor's in-state Honor Roll.

Fall 2018 Chancellor's out-of-state Honor Roll

Fall 2018 Chancellor's in-state Honor Roll

The Office of the Chancellor

University of Tennessee at Martin

325 Administration Building

Martin, TN 38238


(731) 881-7500


(731) 881-7019