Ken Lowe, chairman, president and CEO of Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc., delivered CCI’s commencement address on Thursday May 10. He inspired the graduates by sharing insights gained from his professional career including the creation of HGTV (Home & Garden Television). During those formative years, Lowe and his colleagues carved out a new type of cable network by thinking “outside of the box” by envisioning television content that appealed to do-it-yourselfers. He described his bold move in creating HGTV as one of the scariest thing he has ever done.
Lowe gave the graduates a list of things to “never do” including: never stop learning, never be satisfied and never forget this place. Quoting Malcolm Forbes, Lowe said, “Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.” He told the graduates of how he learned to channel his creativity and reinvent himself on numerous occasions in order to adapt to a changing environment. This personal growth led to his mantra of “restless self-renewal.” Lowe closed his address by telling the graduates one thing to do – “do the right thing.”
“Ken Lowe delivered an outstanding commencement address,” said CCI Dean Mike Wirth. “By sharing experiences from his incredible career, he provided our graduates with a wonderful message filled with wisdom, guidance and inspiration.” Chancellor Jimmy Cheek then conferred degrees upon the graduates. He reminded them that they had the ultimate role model for “doing the right thing” in attendance as he asked Coach Pat Summitt to stand and be recognized. Coach Summitt attended the ceremony to watch her son Tyler graduate with a B.A. in communications.
As part of the commencement ceremony, Wirth presented Alexia Poe (BS /JEM ’95), director of communications for Governor Bill Haslam, with the 2012 Donald G. Hileman Distinguished Alumni Award. A total of 316 undergraduate and 97 graduate degrees, including nine doctoral degrees, were conferred at the ceremony held at Thompson-Boling Arena. The CCI commencement web cast can be found at http://126.96.36.199/UTK/SilverlightPlayer/Default.aspx?peid=f2a81a11598f4c5283c749a889edc589