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Welcome back and invitation to Faculty Appreciation Pub

Dear colleagues,

As we start the fall semester, I invite you to join me and your faculty colleagues to share food, fellowship, and thoughtful conversation about the beginning of the new academic year.

We have a lot to discuss. Challenges remain with COVID-19. We have vaccines now that were only a distant hope last fall, and we have taken additional precautions with masks in classrooms and laboratories. And yet even with these advances and precautions, I know concerns remain as we navigate this latest wave.

We have a lot to celebrate. We are welcoming what appears to be a record number of students, with a first-year class 8 percent larger than last year’s and total enrollment projected at 31,500.

I have talked to many of our students over the last few days. As you can imagine, they have been through a lot. In a year when many universities have lost students, we have grown because our students believe being a Volunteer offers them a college experience that will be special and will prepare them for life. They are excited to be here and to learn from you.

I am excited, too. You all do so much for each and every student, and I greatly appreciate your contributions to this university. Next week, we will host our first Faculty Pub of the semester from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, August 26, outdoors in Circle Park. The focus will be faculty appreciation, and I cannot think of a better theme.

We will have free appetizers, a cash bar, and fun activities, but most importantly, we will have an opportunity to talk about important topics, share ideas, and connect with one another.

If you would like to come, please let us know by Monday, August 23. For any questions about the event, please reach out to Heather Cockrum at

I look forward to seeing you, to listening to your ideas, and to working with you in the new academic year.

Best regards,

John Zomchick
Provost & Senior Vice Chancellor