By Taylor Starkey, Chattanooga, Tenn.– The University was once again named among the nation’s Colleges of Distinction, for having excelled in the areas of engaging students, great teaching, providing a vibrant and exciting learning environment, and preparing graduates for real-world success, all in addition to being the only public institution in the state to do so.

In a letter informing UTC of its selection, Wes Creel, founder of Colleges of Distinction wrote, “The Colleges of Distinction cultivate graduates who are well rounded, successful citizens with the capacity to contribute to their communities, their nations, and the world.”

UTC’s College of Distinction online profile refers to the University as a school that “combines the advantages of a strong private tradition with those of a state-assisted institution.”

The online college guide focuses on what the organization believes really matters, what kind of experience the school offers and how it’s helping prepare its students for successful futures. Colleges are selected based upon the opinions of high school guidance counselors, alumni, college administrative members, and the College of Distinction selection team.

In previous years, in addition to their online profiles, selected college have been profiled in an official Colleges of Distinction eGuidebook which has available via online retailers and distributed free-of-charge to more than 40,000 high school and community college counselors.

Chuck Cantrell, associate vice chancellor of communication and marketing at UTC, recognizes the amount of attention this recognition will bring the University.

“Being named a College of Distinction brings a level of national acknowledgement for UTC that recognizes the high quality educational experience we deliver to our students,” said Cantrell. “Because this organization looks at a variety of criteria, it shows that UTC is performing at a high level on multiple fronts, and that leads to more opportunities for our students.”

For the last two years, UTC’s selection has placed them among some of the most prestigious colleges in the state and country. Out of the 11 colleges selected from Tennessee in 2016, UTC is the only public institution that made the cut.

Jay Nguyen, a junior biochemistry major from Chattanooga, isn’t surprised by this. Nguyen feels the University is more than deserving of the title of a College of Distinction.

“This unique recognition does not and should not come as a shock,” Nguyen said. “UTC is an incredible university in an even more incredible location. It offers more than just a degree to its students, it provides an entire educational experience that is truly unique and can only be found here in the city of Chattanooga.

“As a Chattanooga-native, I have seen and experienced, firsthand, the tremendous growth of both the university and the city. UTC’s recognition as a COD is proof that we are a progressive institution that is both capable of setting goals and achieving them.”

Chuck Cantrell believes this recognition helps the university prove it can compete with privately funded institutions. For Cantrell, the recognition does more than highlight UTC’s academia.

“For UTC to be the only public campus in Tennessee to receive this honor is important,” said Cantrell. “It demonstrates that a campus can provide a high quality educational experience at an affordable rate for students.”

Being recognized as a College of Distinction brings national attention to the education and experience UTC has to offer. As for how this recognition will affect UTC, students like Jay Nguyen feel it can only be a good thing.

“There is no doubt in my mind that UTC will continue to do great things in the future,” said Nguyen.