Rodgers Celebrates 30 Years of Dedication to UT
By Myron Thompson
The Department of Africana Studies is honored to acknowledge and show its gratitude to one of its most loyal, diligent, and inspiring staff members, Nanette Rodgers. Rodgers will be coming up on her 30th year at the University of Tennessee, having demonstrated her diligent work ethic at multiple departments and through her many years.
Rodgers is an administrative associate for the Department of Africana Studies, although over the years she has worked as an accounting specialist at the Department of Biological Sciences and been responsible for a variety of duties. Having lived her whole life here in Knoxville, Rodgers recalled growing up learning that UT was a prestigious, highly-aspired institution, and worth striving to be employed, which motivated Rodgers to work at an institution of higher education.
“I think we are here for the students, and that is what the University of Tennessee is about—the students,” said Rodgers.
There have been many memorable moments for Rodgers, the most special moment was getting to see her son graduate in 2015 from UT.
Another memorable moment at the university was when Rodgers found out that the university’s Veterans Success Center would allow Rodgers to recognize her 94-year-old father, Champ Sims, a World War II veteran.
The Veterans Success Center allowed Sims to be recognized in the center’s newsletter.
“Being an African American, when I noticed there were so many students of diverse backgrounds it just seemed, ‘This was amazing!” Rodgers said. “It’s been great seeing UT become more welcoming over the years.”
Rodgers hopes that as the university continues to grow and improve, people on the campus will continue to learn to accept others, even those that may have come from a different background compared to their own.
To accomplish this Rodgers suggests, “That you get out of your comfort zone and learn to be a little bit more vulnerable,” and to learn to network or meet new people.
To commemorate her many years at UT, Rodgers plans to walk around the university and take in all the old, but also many new sights that are spread around the campus.
“For 30 years is a lot of memories, some good times and maybe not-so-good times. But it’s like a breath of fresh air to say, ‘I’ve made it’. I’m going to take a deep breath and say, ‘You made it,’” Rodgers said.
Rodgers made it her career to focus on the growth of students, aiding her departments, and working tirelessly for so many years. In addition, she completed the 2021-22 UConnect Leadership Program.
On behalf of the Department of Africana Studies and for all those at UT; we owe a huge, “Thank You, Ms. Rodgers,” for her service, love, and commitment that she has brought and continues to bring to the University of Tennessee. Everyone is encouraged to stop by the Department of Africana Studies or to send an email to congratulate Nanette Rodgers on her 30th year at UT.