As Dr. Jimmy Cheek begins his tenure as UT Knoxville chancellor, he is writing a new chapter in the story of his life in higher education.
Cheek came to UT from a 33-year career at the University of Florida, where he was senior vice-president for agriculture and natural resources.
The new chancellor is a Texas native and graduate of Texas A&M University. He joined the Florida faculty in 1975 and advanced from assistant dean to dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences before becoming vice-president in 2005. Cheek and his wife, Ileen, have two adult children and one granddaughter.
Dr. Jan Simek, who served as interim chancellor for about a year following the departure of Chancellor Loren Crabtree, has returned to his duties as professor of anthropology.
Cheek is enthusiastic about tackling his new job and plans to proceed with an “aggressive strategic agenda.”
“This is one of the best public universities in America,” with a commitment to be even better, Cheek said. Noting the university’s impressive faculty, students, academic priorities, and strong statewide support, he predicts a bright academic future for the flagship state institution.
“I look forward to this new chapter of my life,” he said, “and this wonderful opportunity to serve the people of Tennessee.”