‘We are going to be dreaming big.’

Chancellor Donde Plowman making remarks at a reception held in her honor recently.

That’s what just-hired UT-Knoxville Chancellor Donde Plowman announced recently at a community reception held in her honor at the beautiful new Student Union on the University of Tennessee campus.

The reception, sponsored by Pilot Flying J, Cherokee Distributing Company, The Christman Company and The University of Tennessee Medical Center, allowed about 200 members of the business and civic community to get to know the new chancellor and hear her plans. (Moxley Carmichael was proud to be the organizer.)

Interim UT President Randy Boyd introduced Plowman, saying the university intends to be “laser focused on student excellence.”

“We, unfortunately, too often work in silos,” Boyd said. “We need someone who can help us work together. Donde is a team builder, and she will be a terrific chancellor.”

Interim UT President Randy Boyd introduced Chancellor Donde Plowman.

Chancellor Plowman praised UT for its “great students, great faculty and great alums.”

“No university in the country has alumni like the University of Tennessee,” she said. “It’s one of the things that drew me back here.”

Plowman, who previously was executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, was from 2007 to 2010, on the management faculty at UT-Knoxville, serving as department head for two of those years.

In her remarks, she said she is a believer in the mission of a land grant university such as UT.

“It’s about access and doing research that matters in people’s lives,” Plowman said. “I am dedicated to what education can do in the state of Tennessee. It is a differentiator. It is the only fix for poverty.

“We are going to be dreaming big.”

Jim Haslam, founder of Pilot Flying J, welcomes guests.

From left, David Hunt of WBIR-TV; Chancellor Plowman and Congressman Tim Burchett.

From left, Terry Strickland, Former Knoxville Mayor Daniel Brown, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs and Tank Strickland.

From left, Knox County Commission Chairman Hugh Nystrom, Duane and Marsha Grieve, Todd Morgan and Deanene Catani.

Natalie and Jim Haslam greet their friend Dick Ray, right.

Girl power! From left, Shelley Burns, Gay Lyons, Chancellor Plowman, Alizza Punzalan-Randle, Knox County Commissioner Evelyn Gill and Rachel Haverkamp.

Chancellor Plowman greets Jim and Natalie Haslam.

At the sponsors’ reception, from left, Jim Pugh of Cherokee Distributing Company, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, UT Interim President Randy Boyd, and Marty Gibbs and Randy Merritt, both of The Christman Company.

Knoxville Symphony Music Director Aram Demirjian with Victoria Niederhauser, left, and Gayle Bustin.

From left, Susan Edwards, Chief U.S. District Court Judge Pam Reeves, Knoxville Law Director Charles Swanson, Julia Bentley and Judith Foltz.

From left, Dr. Stephen Harris, Knox County Trustee Ed Shouse, State Rep. Bill Dunn and Bob Whetsel.

From left, Municipal Judge John Rosson, Register of Deeds Nick McBride and Louis Cortina.

From left, R.J. Hinde, John Winemiller and John Billings.

Knox County Clerk Sherry Witt with Randy Merritt, left, of sponsor The Christman Company, and Randy Inklebarger.

From left, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, Jim Pugh of sponsor Cherokee Distributing Company, UT Interim President Randy Boyd and Marty Gibbs of sponsor The Christman Company.

Ben and Ginger Cunningham chat with Jim Haslam, center, of sponsor Pilot Flying J.

David Hall of sponsor UT Medical Center, left, with Chuck Griffin.

Sharon Pryse and Matt Prince of The Trust Company of Tennessee.

From left, Scott and Lynne Fugate, Lindsay Cates and Matt Prince, both of The Trust Company.

Sponsor UT Medical Center’s Bruce Hartmann, left, with Tank Strickland.

From left, Alan Carmichael, Shelley Burns and Tom Catani.

From left, Rachel Haverkamp, Moxley Carmichael’s Shaun Fulco and Alizza Punzalan-Randle. Rachel and Alizza are with the YWCA.

From left, Judith Foltz, David Butler, Rhonda and Jim Clayton and Hash Hashemian.

Lance Taylor, middle, with Gary and Donna Rose.

Lisa Skinner and Pellissippi State Community College President Anthony Wise.

From left, Loida Velazquez, Patricia Robledo and Rachel Rui.

From left, Dwayne Light, John Knight, Lauren Miller and Blair Reath. All the guys are with sponsor Cherokee Distributing Company. Lauren is with Moxley Carmichael.

Former Chancellor Jimmy Cheek with Dennis Duchon, Chancellor Plowman’s husband.

From left, Chelsea Esposito, Jordan Spradling and Randy Inklebarger.

Donna Hardy and Jim Nichols.

Chancellor Plowman, left, chatting with Moxley Carmichael’s Lauren Miller.

Mary Bogert with Randy Inklebarger, left, and Don Bruce.

State Rep. Rick Staples and Tammy White.

Former Knoxville Mayor and U.S. Ambassador to Poland Victor Ashe, left, with Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler.

Jeff Knight of Cherokee Distributing Company, left, with Dennis Duchon.

Chancellor Plowman with Chuck Mabe, left, and Marty Gibbs of The Christman Company, an event sponsor.

Tyvi Small and Gayle Bustin.

Tammy White, left, and Susan Dakak.

Pam Fansler and Jay Cobble.

From left, David Butler, Townes Osborn, Bob Marquis and Jim Biggs.

From left, Jeff Taylor, Aram Demirjian and Clarence Vaughn.

I thought the buffet turned out beautifully. UT’s contractor, Aramark, was the food supplier.

Memphis brisket and chow-chow crostini were quite popular.

Red velvet bars were one of three desserts. (And my favorite.)


These ladies did a great job with the name tag table. From left, Amy Barger, Geraldine Gallman, Lydia Bailey and Shaun Fulco. Thanks!

From left, Katrina Roberts, Charley Sexton and John McCulley, all of Moxley Carmichael. (Thanks, Charley, for taking almost all of these pictures!)

John McCulley and Scott Bird, also of Moxley Carmichael, pose in front of the huge torch sculpture that is a signature of the Student Union.

Great Moxley Carmichael interns really pitched in. From left, Jacob Teetzmann, Margaret Hamilton and Jake Brown.

A special shout-out to Maria McHale, who was Moxley Carmichael’s point person on this project. I guess she was moving so fast that nobody got a picture of her in action at the event!


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4 Responses to ‘We are going to be dreaming big.’

  1. Alan Carmichael, on September 4th, 2019 at 3:22 pm said:

    Thanks to all the sponsors of the event. Chancellor Plowman was the star of the evening, but the Student Union building built by Christman was close.

  2. Gay Lyons, on September 4th, 2019 at 7:30 pm said:

    What a great occasion! Chancellor Plowman demonstrated great understanding & enthusiasm. And Student Union was awesome. My first visit. Inspired choice of location for the reception.

  3. Cynthia Moxley, on September 5th, 2019 at 2:35 pm said:

    That is so true, Alan. Everyone was marveling about it! Gay, glad you were there and that you like the building. I just love the flame. The glass was created by Matthew Cummings at Pretentious Glass.

  4. Monique Anderson, on September 8th, 2019 at 7:11 am said:

    Hated to miss it. We were at the beach.

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