Wherever Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance Michael Ebbs drives, he shows his support for the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.
Ebbs is among faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center who have purchased a UTHSC license plate and show their spirit anywhere the road takes them.
“I just have a lot of pride working here at UTHSC,” Ebbs said. “I like being an ambassador driving around town.”
In 2019, UTHSC kicked off a campaign for the specialty license plate, which features UTHSC’s official green and orange. The campus community had the opportunity to pick the design of the plate from three possible versions produced by the Office of Communications and Marketing. In early 2021, enough plates had been preordered for the state to approve the plate for production.
Today, it is one of 45 collegiate license plates available through Tennessee County Clerk offices across the state.
The specialty license plate costs $61.50 ($35 more than a standard plate), plus additional county fees. A portion of the money generated from the sale of the specialty license plate supports educational outreach at UTHSC.
The initial purchase of a specialty plate must be made at a County Clerk’s office.
Keeping the plate in production takes a commitment from supporters of UTHSC to purchase it. The Tennessee Department of Revenue requires at least 800 active plates each year to continue production. For FY22-23, there were 369 active plates. The UTHSC plate will be taken off production at the end of this fiscal year, if the 800 minimum is not met.
“UTHSC is doing so much to improve health across Tennessee,” said Sally Badoud, vice chancellor for Communications and Marketing at UTHSC. “We can all show our commitment to this important work by purchasing a UTHSC specialty plate.”
Jacen Moore, MLS (ASCP), MA, PhD, associate professor in the College of Health Professions, said he would be “very sad” if the plates were to be discontinued. “I bought two, one for me and one for my wife. The plan to start generating enough orders from people to make the plates started about the time that Kyle and I came to Memphis,” said Dr. Moore, interim program manager for the Medical Laboratory Sciences program in the Department of Diagnostic and Health Sciences. Kyle Johnson Moore is the director of Scientific Writing in the Office of Research.
“We were looking for a way to show our pride and support for UTHSC,” he said. “I made sure that I was one of the first to get online and order them. Kyle wasn’t working here yet at the time, but we both made the decision to take advantage of the plates. It was exciting to get to vote on the design and color scheme for the plates, which made us feel like we were involved, other than just buying one. We have had ours since they came out two years ago. Mine is 0005, and Kyle’s is 0312.”
“Ordering the UTHSC license plates was a way for us to express pride in our workplace, promote the mission of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, and raise awareness that UTHSC is here in Memphis,” Dr. Moore continued. “I think it is important for UTHSC to reaffirm our uniqueness from other UT institutions. We all serve an important role, and this is a way to celebrate that. We don’t have a sports team, so besides apparel, it’s like the next best thing that everyone can see.”
Jillian McCarthy, PhD, CCC-SLP, associate professor in the Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology in the College of Health Professions in Knoxville, carries her pride in UTHSC across the state. “When UTHSC shared that they would be developing a license plate, I immediately signed up,” Dr. McCarthy, past president of the Faculty Senate, said. “UTHSC is a statewide institution with four fantastic campuses, but many people do not realize that we span the state. The license plate provides me a chance to proudly promote all the great work we do all around Knoxville and the eastern part of Tennessee.”
Robert St. Clair, a graphic designer in UTHSC’s Print Services, especially likes the design of the plates. “I purchased the UTHSC license plate so I could show my support for the university and pride in being part of a winning team,” he said. “The license plate is well designed and clearly visible to others. I like the fact it will remain attractive for many years.”
Michael Alston, EdD, CCDP/AP, associate vice chancellor for Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity and Chief Diversity Officer, and Chandra Alston, EdD, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, vice chancellor for Human Resources, both have UTHSC license plates on their cars. “We want to support the school, but we also like the design,” he said. “The colors pop with the colors of our cars.”
For Elaine Robinson, CAP-OM, senior administrative associate III in the Occupational Therapy Department in the College of Health Professions, the UTHSC license plate makes her feel safer on the road.
“I feel honored to represent our UTHSC brand and license plate,” she said. “I love the fact it sets me apart from the norm. I feel safer when I drive with my UTHSC license plate, and because UTHSC is respected, my UTHSC license plate gives me a sense of empowerment as I travel the highways.”
Melanie Burlison, assistant vice chancellor in the Office of Compliance Review at UTHSC, said she is proud to be an employee and the plate lets her show it.
“It shines the light on the Health Science Center wherever you go,” she said.