Dedication to Growth and Community

Author: Omar Dedovic

Last Updated:

Category: Featured

Marla Cobb

From a small town with big dreams, Marla Cobb (’95, ’98) embodies the spirit of dedication and community engagement fostered at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Born and raised in Etowah, Tenn. and a graduate of McMinn Central High School, where she was shaped by a community that offered its own blend of challenges and support, Marla recalls, “The most influential experiences have been those who pushed me by doubting or challenging me,” highlighting the motivational force that skepticism and adversity can play in one’s life. Yet, it was the “teachers and leaders I built a rapport with during some of my life’s most monumental and developmental stages” who truly molded her path. Their guidance was not just instrumental but “invaluable and profound,” laying the foundation for Marla’s academic interests and professional choices.

Earning her bachelor’s in Social Work and master’s in Guidance and Counseling, Marla’s involvement in Student Government Association, the Littleton H. Mason Singers and her work in Records and Student Registration were pivotal to her academic and personal development laying a strong foundation for her future endeavors in social work and education.

Driven by a desire to give back and support the next generation of Mocs, Marla joined the Black Alumni Council and served as an Alumni Board representative starting in 2023. Her motivation stems from a recognition of the progress that UTC has made in becoming more diverse and inclusive, and a commitment to contribute to its ongoing evolution. “Serving on the board, I have learned and been impressed with the programming and the availability of services the university extends,” she states, underlining her pride in the institution’s strides toward greater inclusivity.

Volunteering at alumni events including football tailgates has allowed Marla to witness first-hand the impact of reuniting with old friends and creating new bonds. “I believe that everyone needs someone to encourage them,” she says, envisioning her role as a beacon of support and connecter to her alma mater for others.

Marla Cobb at tailgate

As an assistant principal and a current doctoral candidate in public administration at UTC, Marla’s approach to education and leadership is rooted in the belief that learning is lifelong process and that being a positive influence requires continuous growth and self-awareness.

Black History Month

Marla’s observations on the university’s diversity, inclusion and access evolution reflect the strides UTC has made in creating a welcoming and supportive environment for all students, faculty, staff and alumni. This is particularly important as February is Black History Month. To honor the contributions that African Americans have made and to recognize their sacrifices, check out how UTC is recognizing the annual month long milestone with events like Of Ebony Embers and more on our calendar.

Learn More