I’m Jená Emily Utley (formally Murphy) and my story is a bit unique as it relates to my love for the Lady Vol brand.
I went from being a rower my freshman year to walking on to the track team my sophomore year. Joining such an amazing group of dynamic athletes was such a blessing for me! I can remember loving how special our program was not just for the incredible skills and talents we all possessed, but because as women athletes we stood alone. I was excited that we were all a part of the Volunteer family, but more importantly, our strength and identity got to be highlighted and showcased. For THAT I was proud.
The community and support I received from my teammates truly showed me what being a Lady Vol was all about. They cheered for me when I was weak, encouraged me when I was exhausted, celebrated me when I achieved victory, and loved on me when I was heartbroken. I learned so much about myself and grew as a person because of values that were instilled in me to uphold the legacy of being called a Lady Vol. In my mind, the brand is synonymous with upholding a standard of excellence in all things. It means being a woman of virtue, strength, discipline, integrity, and enterprise. It’s dignifying, classy, and I consider it a badge of honor.
Being a Lady Vol is a title to aspire to! Many great students, athletes, CEOs, philanthropists, and all around dynamic women have earned the title and responsibility of being a Lady Vol. It would be a shame to take the pride, tradition, and respect that surround the name and the brand away. We are women, we are strong, and we have earned the pride and respect of being showcased and celebrated!
Who could ever fathom taking away a brand that means so much to so many! Uphold the dynasty and bring back the Lady Vols!
Jená E. Utley
Lady Vol Rowing 2006-2007, Lady Vol Track and Field 2007-2011
You can follow along with Jená at her personal website, JenáEmilyUtley.com