Our outstanding University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is not only celebrating its history of 125 years of educational opportunities for the people of our community, but is emphasizing the greater excellence that it rightly hopes to achieve in the future.
UTC Chancellor Dr. Roger Brown welcomed University of Tennessee system President Dr. Joe DiPietro from Knoxville on Friday to cheer on the university's fundraising and its quest to become even better.
While DiPietro and Brown noted our university's commendable past, their focus appropriately was on its future - and what it will mean personally to thousands of UTC students and our whole Chattanooga community and economy.
Visitors to the UTC campus these days find much more than just the familiar, historic buildings. There also is much evidence of construction under way, improving the facilities and landscape.
But the UTC supporters' major emphasis is not on history and buildings.
The focus is on the students, and their improved learning and lifelong opportunities.
UTC has come a long way since its founding in 1886.
The UTC motto in Latin is "Faciemus," which in English means "We shall achieve." UTC certainly is seeking to achieve even more.
It is providing a path for both student and community excellence.
UTC not only has the Tennessee General Assembly's appropriations from our state taxpayers, but also has an important inspirational and economic stimulus from the UC Foundation.
The UC Foundation originated from and expanded through generous giving over many years to support the University of Chattanooga when it was an independent school.
Now the foundation fortunately continues to enrich UTC student opportunities, and to benefit UTC beyond state appropriations since UC became part of the University of Tennessee system.
UTC is unique in many other ways, too.
One example is the high-tech UTC SimCenter - the National Center for Computational Engineering. It simulates all sorts of engineering situations and analyzes them by computer, serving industry and science throughout the United States.
While Brown has reported on the many "strengths and opportunities" at UTC, he and DiPietro also lauded the school's "bold pledge":
It is to assure that the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga - which already is a competitive school in the South - will become one of the top five master's universities in the nation by 2021.
We have a most outstanding asset in UTC. And it is "on the move" for even more progress.
It is impossible to grasp fully how valuable UTC is to our community as a whole - and certainly to its individual students.