A Letter from Mike Berry (’77)

Category: News

Dear UT alumni,

The Spring and Summer academic terms and associated alumni activities have certainly been different than anyone could imagine. There is still so much uncertainty as we all look forward to fall academics, as well as social and sports interactions that we enjoy each season.
My year as your UT Knoxville Alumni Board of Director’s president ended on July 1st and I would like to make some comments that I hope will make you proud to be an alumnus and a Vol for Life.

Our leadership at UT Knoxville is exceptionally strong with Randy Boyd, Donde Plowman and her staff who are fully aligned, energetic, and displaying positivity in this uncertain climate. Duane Wiles, Associate Vice Chancellor of Alumni Affairs was hired to succeed Dr. Lee Patouillet in February and is fully engaged in meeting our alumni needs.

I have always liked the theme that “Vol is a verb and Vols Help Vols”. The leadership characteristic to step up with the willingness to help others has been very evident at our university and the lives of alumni during this pandemic. Even with Zoom meetings and fewer face to face gatherings, several highlights are noteworthy.
  • During the early parts of this pandemic, alumni immediately helped by funding a Student Life Emergency Fund with more than $300,000 to assist some students who had significant needs.
  • UT alumni and staff members called 29,000 undergrad students to check on their well-being.
  • UT alumni shared life after graduation advice to Class of 2020 via Facebook Live and alumni posted messages of congratulations on social media.
  • Our Join the Journey Campaign came to a close after 8 ½ years, exceeding our goal by raising more than $1.3 billion.
  • We surpassed our alumni engagement goal for the fiscal year; 137,039 engagements vs the goal of 132,290.
  • 100% of our Alumni Board gave philanthropically to the university this past year.
I am proud that our university and the Office of Alumni Affairs is in a strong position and prepared for whatever scenario occurs this fall. It has been an honor to be a part of the Alumni Board and the more than 250,000 alumni it represents. Remember…
All the best to Phil Jacobs (’77), who has started his presidential term effective July 1.

Go Vols!

Mike Berry (’77)

Immediate Past President
UT Knoxville Alumni Board of Directors