Inky Johnson Is Keynote Speaker At UTK Graduation

Thursday, December 2, 2021
Inky Johnson
Inky Johnson

Vol for Life Inquoris “Inky” Johnson, known for his inspiring life journey overcoming a tragic football injury, will address University of Tennessee, Knoxville, undergraduate students as the keynote speaker for the 9 a.m. Dec. 10 fall commencement at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Graduate hooding will take place at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 9, at the arena. Doctoral candidate Bikash Bogati, a first-generation college graduate, will address graduates during the ceremony.

The university will award approximately 1,088 undergraduate degrees and 578 graduate degrees and certificates.

Three ROTC Air Force cadets will be commissioned during the undergraduate ceremony.

Both ceremonies will be webcast live on the commencement website.

On Sept. 9, 2006, what started as a normal college football game in Neyland Stadium changed everything for Johnson. A routine tackle turned into a life-threatening injury, leaving him with a paralyzed right arm and daily pain and physical challenges. Johnson’s dream had always been to play professional sports, but no injury could ever destroy his motivation or crush his spirit.

Johnson could be described as the survivor of an underprivileged past, a refugee of poverty and violence, a success story stained by tragedy. But there’s much more to him. Johnson’s injury didn’t turn him into an inspiration; it just showed the world the inspirational life he had been living all along.

A dedicated UT alumnus, Johnson has a master’s degree in sports psychology. He travels the world as a speaker, hosts the podcast Serendipity with Inky Johnson, and devotes time to mentoring athletes and underprivileged youth.

Executives, professional athletes, church members, and young people have all benefited from the energy and charisma of Johnson’s speaking. Whether the topic is leadership, teamwork, or perseverance, Johnson brings inspiration and transforms lives. He and his wife, Allison, live in Atlanta with their children, Jada and Inky Jr.


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