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Spring 2011 Commencement

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UT Knoxville College of Engineering Holds Spring 2011 Commencement

Dean Davis and Spruell Driver

COE Dean Wayne Davis (right) presents a plaque to Spruell Driver (left) commemorating his role as speaker for the college’s 2011 commencement ceremonies.

More than 250 College of Engineering (COE) students walked across the stage inside Thompson-Boling Arena and officially became graduates on Wednesday, May 11. Approximately 2,300 parents, friends, and relatives attended the spring 2011 graduation ceremony.

Wayne Davis, dean of engineering, led the academic procession that signaled the beginning of the ceremony. The procession included associate deans, department heads, and faculty representatives. Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek also attended the ceremony.

Spruell Driver, a 1987 industrial engineering alumnus, was the commencement speaker. Driver, a practicing attorney who received his law degree in 1991 from Duke Law School, is a current member of the UT Board of Trustees and was president of the UT National Alumni Association from 2004 to 2005. He also served as national chair of the association's Annual Giving Program in 2005 to 2006 and is a former member of the College of Engineering's Board of Advisors.

The college's top student, David Christopher Flowers, a chemical engineering major, was also recognized.

In addition to the commencement activities, the event also featured a military ceremony, where Lt. Colonel Michael S. Angle, a professor of aerospace studies at UT Knoxville, officially commissioned four COE graduates into the U.S. Air Force. The new second lieutenants include Joshua Coughenour, Jonathan Crow, Timothy McLerran, and Alexandra Pattenn.

Engineering grads Oyier and Tominey

Civil engineering graduates Jacob Okumu Oyier (left) and Mark Edmund Tominey (right) also became U.S. citizens on commencement day.

A highlight of the event was when Jacob Okumu Oyier, a student from Kenya, and Mark Edmund Tominey, a student from England, received their degrees at the end of the ceremonies. The two civil engineering majors had just been granted status as US citizens in a ceremony that took place at 8:00 a.m. in Greeneville, Tennessee and had to rush back to Knoxville to get to their graduation event.

"The coincidence of the two events being on the same day was a very big blessing to me," Oyier said. "It was exciting."

"It was a little nerve-wracking, but very exhilarating," Tominey said. "My parents had traveled all the way from England to see me graduate and my wife and two sons were there, too, so I was really happy it worked out so well."

In recent years, the university's colleges have been conferring diplomas during smaller, more individualized graduation events.

For more information, contact Kim Cowart, communications director, at 865-974-0686 or

Engineering grads

The Class of 2011