May 17, 2024 Graduates Turn Tassels, Join Alumni Family

This spring more than 130 students became alumni of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s College of Architecture and Design.

“Today marks a significant milestone in the lives of our students,” said Dean Jason Young. “For many members of the Class of 2024, this day is an especially meaningful because their high school graduations and their first year in our program, along with other major life moments, were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re thrilled to celebrate them today and we hope this occasion becomes a cherished memory for all in attendance.”

Barry Alan Yoakum, FAIA, delivers commencement address at the spring 2024 ceremony.

The college’s commencement address was delivered by archimania Cofounder and CEO Barry Alan Yoakum, FAIA. A 1978 graduate of the School of Architecture, Yoakum credits his third-grade teacher for becoming an architect, his uncle Rhea Burns for his love of the Vols, and his father for instilling that he could become whatever he dreamed. In his address, Yoakum asked graduates to remember the first time they dreamed of becoming a graphic designer, a landscape architect, an interior architect, or an architect.

“You have come a long way from that moment,” he said. “Enjoy today. Revel in the moment of being a graduate, then tomorrow, begin dreaming a new dream that helps you to become the very best you. I want to thank you for helping me to remember how I became me. It’s the people and the moments that shape who we become.”

During the college’s celebration for graduates and their families, prior to the commencement ceremony, Yoakum was recognized by the UT chapter of Tau Sigma Delta Honors Society with the Silver Medal. The honor recognizes a professional with a distinction in design in architecture, landscape architecture or the allied arts.

Shakori Carpenter, a bachelors of architecture graduate, addressed her classmates and shared how her mother’s practice of attributing and integrating aspirational words for each year allowed her to reflect upon her five years at UT.

“The education itself is important, but what is more crucial are the relationships we garnered through it. Life is about enrichment, exploration and togetherness. When you have a person or a group of people there for you, it truly makes a difference.”

Watch the college’s commencement ceremony and others .