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Governor-elect Haslam to speak at UT fall commencement
November 22, 2010

governor bill haslamGovernor-elect and Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam will address graduates at the fall commencement ceremony for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

The ceremony will take place at 9 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 11, at Thompson-Boling Arena on UT's campus.

More than 2,900 undergraduate and graduate students, who have completed degree programs during the summer or fall semesters, will be awarded diplomas. Five graduates will receive commissions as second lieutenants in the U. S. Army.

Students earning post-graduate degrees will be honored in a graduate hooding ceremony at 4:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 10, at the arena.

"We are thrilled to welcome Governor-elect Haslam to share his message with our graduates," said Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. "His story is one of hard work, relationship-building and leadership, so his advice to our students as they enter their next phase of life will be valuable. As our incoming chair of the Board of Trustees, I'm pleased to have him participate in commencement."

Haslam, a Knoxville native, began working at age 13, pumping gas at one of a few service stations owned by his family. He attended Emory University in Atlanta, where he volunteered with the Young Life organization, a Christian ministry that reaches out to adolescents, and worked summers on the grassroots political campaigns for Sen. Howard Baker Jr. and Sen. Lamar Alexander, who at that time was campaigning for governor.

After graduating from Emory, Haslam returned to Knoxville and began traveling throughout the country, scouting locations for new travel centers. The small chain of stores grew into what is now Pilot Flying J. Haslam served as president and a director of the company from 1980-1999. During his time at the helm, the company grew from 800 employees to more than 14,000 in 39 states. He continued to serve on the board until 2003 when he was elected Knoxville mayor.

He has served two successful terms as mayor, balancing seven consecutive budgets, tripling the city's Rainy Day Fund and recruiting and retaining thousands of jobs for the city. On Nov. 2, he was elected Tennessee's 49th governor and will officially take office on Jan. 15, 2011.

Parking for commencement is available at any student parking area on campus. Parking for disabled persons is available in the Neyland Drive garage (G-10). For a campus parking map, visit

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