Governor Bill Lee has proclaimed this Graduate Education Week, creating an opportunity for us to celebrate the importance and contributions of graduate students to our university and our state.
We have more than 6,100 graduate and professional students at the University of Tennessee, a number that has been growing in recent years. UT is at the forefront of advancing graduate education in Tennessee and producing alumni whose leadership and expertise are critical to our state’s future.
As a land-grant research university, UT relies on the vital role of graduate students in advancing our core mission of educating students and advancing research. Graduate students work in our classrooms as instructors and teaching assistants, in our administrative offices as graduate assistants, and in our laboratories as research assistants.
We have continued to invest in graduate education for the second straight year, spending an additional $1.5 million annually to raise graduate stipends and allowing us to attract top students. We also invest about $4.5 million annually in graduate fellowships and provide more than $500,000 in tuition support for students on prestigious national fellowships.
We are continuing to look for ways to bolster our support. For example, the opening of the Graduate Student Commons in Hodges Library this year gives graduate students a space tailored to their unique needs.
Graduate education is both an important part of our mission and a key reason we are able to achieve success as an institution. I hope you will join me this week in showing our appreciation to our graduate students and their contributions to our university.