SGA Alumna, Nancy-Ann DeParle, returned to Rocky Top to deliver a commencement address to the College of Arts and Sciences graduates. While visiting campus, Nancy-Ann toured our new SGA offices and shared some memories from her time serving in Student Government. She is currently a partner and co-founder of Consonance Capital Partners which a private equity firm focused on investing in innovative health care companies. Prior to taking this role, Nancy-Ann practiced law at Bass, Berry & Sims in Nashville and worked as the administrator of the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in the Clinton Administration. During President Obama’s first term, she served as counselor to the president and director of the White House Office of Health Reform, and then as assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff for policy from 2011-2013. Furthermore, she a is Harvard Law graduate and Rhodes Scholar. Previously, she worked as commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Human Services in Governor Ned McWherter’s cabinet.
Nancy-Ann became active in SGA her freshman year as a member of the Academic Council, and she was elected as a representative from the College of Liberal Arts. In the spring of her sophomore year, she was elected Student Body Vice President with David Burnett serving as UT’s Student Body President. Nancy-Ann ran for Student Body President with Scott Lucas as her Vice President during the spring semester of her junior year and served in that capacity during her senior year.
When asked what a highlight of her experience in SGA was, Nancy-Ann said emphatically, “There are so many highlights. Campaigning all over campus, asking people for help and for their votes, challenging administrators and elected officials on behalf of students when we were working to persuade the Tennessee General Assembly to appropriate more funding for the campus or to defend the right of students to register to vote via postcard voter registration to the Knox County Election Commission.” She continued that what she remembers the most “are the other students I met, many of whom became lifelong friends. People like Judge Pam Reeves; Scott Lucas, who is now a successful real estate developer; David Long, who founded a Knoxville law firm; and Andy Daniels, who took the skills he learned in SGA to become an advocate and lobbyist at the Tennessee General Assembly.”
Some of her favorite memories from SGA “are of the meetings we had every Tuesday night in the Faculty Senate room in the Carolyn Brown Student Center (predecessor to the gorgeous new Student Union).” Student representatives “gathered to consider issues and hear presentations from student groups…I don’t recall the issues we argued about, but I remember that the debates were impassioned and also filled with humor.” She reflected on what accomplishment she was most proud of from her time in SGA and she concluded that “advocating that the Tennessee General Assembly improve funding for the UT Art & Architecture School, which was under threat of losing its national accreditation because it was housed in the warren of small rooms on the exterior of Neyland Stadium” was a success.
Thank you to Nancy-Ann for her great service to the Student Government Association and her dedication to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.