CEO Credits UTC Scholarship For Success

Like so many other young people, a scholarship changed Tim Arnold’s life.

When Arnold graduated from Hixson High School he accepted a full scholarship to UTC where he received his undergraduate degree in 1984. Four years later and many long hours of work and study invested, he earned an MBA from the university and set about a career in the insurance industry.

Arnold joined Provident Life & Accident (now Unum) straight out of undergrad. During his 26 years working for the insurance giant, Arnold specialized in underwriting, corporate planning, client services, national accounts sales, and benefits. He served in leadership positions with the company at the headquarters in Chattanooga and at satellite operations in Worcester, Mass. and Portland, Maine.

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The SMILE Fund

Yelena Lyashevskiy was not your typical college student, working for approximately 13 years in the banking industry – and having three children – before returning to school.

When Lyashevskiy resumed her educational career, her plan was to major in accounting and become a CPA. And as part of the coursework, she had to take introductory finance classes.

Her finance professor, Dr. Hunter Holzhauer, was the faculty advisor for a new program just getting started on the UTC campus – the SMILE Fund. Holzhauer encouraged Lyashevskiy to apply for an officer position with the fund, which she did, and she was accepted for a role as vice president of fundamental analysis. “At that time, I barely understood what that meant,” she said.

She quickly came to realize that her participation in the SMILE Fund would be career-changing.

“My involvement in the fund was transformational. It unlocked opportunities for me that seemed mostly unattainable,” said Lyashevskiy, a 2016 UTC College of Business graduate. “My learning curve was ‘J’ shaped, given no financial experience or background, but I loved it and decided to major in finance as well.”

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Dr. Fred and Mrs. Ruth Obear

When the notion of pursuing the open chancellor position at UTC was first broached, his initial thought process was something along the lines of … What the heck, why not interview for the job? Your hat has already been tossed in the ring, so what do you have to lose?

He knew it was a long shot, but he went for it. And to this day, so many people on campus and in the Chattanooga community are thankful that Dr. Fred Obear decided to pursue the position.

The year was 1981, and Obear had been working for Oakland University for more than 20 years. A native of Massachusetts with a New England accent to prove it, he first landed at the southeast Michigan school, located about 30 miles from Detroit, as an assistant professor of chemistry. He worked his way up the ranks both academically – becoming a full-fledged professor – and administratively, rising from dean of freshmen to assistant provost to associate provost to vice provost to acting provost to vice president of academic affairs and provost.

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Mark Smith

Every university needs local business people lending support to their institution.

Sometimes, it’s a simple path. Local kid grows up … goes to the hometown school … remains close to home after graduation … and stays connected with the university as a supporter/donor.

And sometimes, the story takes a very circuitous route – even if the supporter lives nearby.

Meet Mark Smith, who refers to himself as a four-letter acronym: F.O.T.O. – Friend of the Organization. His business – the Smith Family McDonald’s group – owns and operates 11 restaurants in southeast Tennessee.

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Davan Maharaj

Davan Maharaj was not your typical UTC undergraduate.

Perhaps it was because he was from Trinidad … and had a Caribbean accent … with an even more interesting name (pronounced DAY vahn MA ha rahj).

Maybe it was because he already had lived life a little bit and had a successful career prior to arriving in Chattanooga – having spent time as an award-winning reporter before acquiescing to his mother’s wish to earn his college degree.

Certainly, he knew exactly what he needed to do – which was to add an education to his journalism expertise in order to devote his professional career to “doing good and making a difference.”

Meet Davan Maharaj, the editor-in-chief and publisher of the Los Angeles Times and the 2016 UTC Distinguished Alumnus Award honoree.

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Dean Robert Dooley

There’s an old saying that you can’t go home again.

 But what if you left for a long time – say, 15 years – and the place where you used to live totally transformed itself. Instead of being what many referred to it as an industrial cesspool, it had become a vital, thriving, vibrant metropolis.

 Would you go home again?

 For Dr. Robert Dooley, the answer was a resounding “Yes.”

 Dooley, the dean of the Gary W. Rollins College of Business at UTC, knows first-hand about what Chattanooga was … what is has become … and where it’s going. Dooley, who recently celebrated the fifth anniversary of his return to UTC, heads a program of approximately 2,100 students which has become a model business school thanks in large part to the revitalization of Chattanooga.

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Dr. Yancy Freeman

He needed a moment to let the question sink in and collect his thoughts. Once the moment passed, he waxed eloquent.

The question: “What does being a Moc mean to you?”

For Dr. Yancy Freeman, UTC’s Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management and Student Success, being a Moc means … well … everything.

“Being a Moc … it really is just the entire evolution of a person,” said Freeman, who is now in his 24th year as a full-time UTC staff member after attending the institution as an undergraduate. “I came to school here at 17; I am now 48 and this is the place where I really grew up. You know, it turned a boy into a man in many ways – because I've been around the campus for so long.

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Drs. Bill and Sue Stacy

He is talked about in often reverential terms.

Even though he hasn’t been UTC’s chancellor for nearly 15 years, it’s obvious that people still adore Dr. Bill Stacy and the work he has done for the university. Stacy is very popular among alumni and the administration, and he continues to volunteer his time in raising money for the institution.

Bill and his wife, Dr. Sue Stacy – who developed and taught computer applications for UTC’s College of Business – often are found on campus attending Mocs athletic events or supporting academic and alumni programs.

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Dr. Andy Walker

It’s something you probably never think about.


When there’s a medical emergency situation, you go to the emergency room – and the emergency physicians are doing everything they can to fight for you.


When emergency physicians need assistance, though, who is leading the fight for them?

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Dean Valerie Rutledge

It’s not often that a student can say his or her biggest cheerleader in college was, in fact, a cheerleader.
But there might not be a bigger academic or athletic supporter on the UTC campus than Dr. Valerie Rutledge, Dean of the university’s College of Health, Education and Professional Studies.

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Bucky Wolford

The wall supports the Foundation Room, located on Level 2 of the University Center in the heart of campus.

Adorning the wall are pictures of all the past chairs of the University of Chattanooga Foundation, business-style portraits surrounded in suede blue matting with gold frames – the blue and gold colors of the university. Below each picture is a metal plate announcing the name of the board chair and the years that person served in that prestigious position.

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Dennis Haskins

For nearly 30 years, Dennis Haskins has been recognized for his role as Principal Richard Belding on Saved by the Bell. Now, he’s equally recognized for earning his bachelor’s degree as a 65-year-old.

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Dr. Melanie Blake

For some people, doing one thing at a time is tough to accomplish.


For others, multi-tasking is the norm – but some items get pushed aside in order to complete different actions.

Then, there is Dr. Melanie Blake – who probably makes juggling look easy.

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