As a frequent traveler across the state, I have experienced the unique and different personalities of each campus and institute. These places and their people are our biggest assets. Together, they help us fulfill the University of Tennessee’s mission to educate, discover and connect. I’d like to share with you some observations I have made since becoming president nearly four years ago.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is spirited and lively. The people are very committed to the institution. UTC is doing very well and improving all the time. There is great potential for growth, and it is located in a wonderful city that is attractive to students.
If you want to visit a relaxed and low-key campus, try UT Martin. But the people are hard-working, a demonstration of rural values. Everybody knows everybody, and relationships with students are very important. UT Martin has a large number of Pell-eligible and first-to-college students, and the university is performing well. In fact, its completion metrics rank second in the state.
It’s no secret what UT Knoxville is like. It is a bustling metropolis, and the teaching, research and discovery happening on campus are palpable. The flagship runs in the same league as the best public universities in the country. It has the strongest academic profile in the state and graduates more students each year than any other public institution in Tennessee. It is making progress on its aspiration to become a top-25 institution. The UT Space Institute, which now reports to the UT Knoxville chancellor, is reinventing itself as our nation’s focus on space exploration has changed.
The Institute for Public Service has a very different constituency than our other campuses and institutes. It works with companies, law enforcement, city and county governments and others, and it has a huge impact on economic development in our state.
The Institute of Agriculture, where I was before holding this office, is best described as providing solutions to the people who improve life. With extension, research and teaching activities, it is truly the centerpiece of our land-grant mission.
Through all of these campuses and institutes, UT touches every corner of our state. Our visible presence and service in all 95 counties distinguish UT from any other higher education institution in Tennessee. I am proud of each place and all our faculty, staff, students and alumni.
All the best,
Dr. Joe DiPietro has served as UT System president since January 2011.