Five years ago this month, I was privileged to move into the UT president’s office and take this job.
In those five years, our statewide university system has produced 55,000 new college graduates, performed $2.2 billion in research (not counting the $7 billion in research performed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and managed by UT-Battelle) and conducted outreach with 5 million participants.
That’s a lot of impact. Yet, that’s not nearly all of UT’s impact. Our employees, students and fans of our athletic teams spend money in their Tennessee communities that adds up to a multibillion dollar impact statewide—every year.
The impact of our faculty, staff and graduates on workforce development in Tennessee is hard to quantify, but common sense tells us it’s enormous. So is the expertise of UT-trained physicians, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, engineers, teachers, chemists, social workers, lawyers, researchers, consultants, business leaders, journalists and policy makers.
As proud as I am of all of that, I’m prouder still of the fact alumni of every UT campus live in every county in the state and are the reason UT is woven into the fabric of everyday life in Tennessee.
For many of you, your relationship with UT began as children of alumni who grew up learning your love for the university from your parents. For others, you came to know UT through our outreach—maybe when you were a fourth-grader and joined the 4-H club. Others of you chose a UT education because you knew it was among the best in your field.
I began my career in higher education administration 20 years ago in Illinois, followed by some time in Florida before I got to Tennessee 10 years ago. In Illinois and Florida, I saw a deep fondness for the state universities, but nothing like the love here for the University of Tennessee. The University system and Tennesseans have a great mutual admiration, and it’s my privilege to be at the helm of such a valued institution.
I plan to continue doing all I can to ensure the university’s value and impact keep growing.
All the best,
Dr. Joe DiPietro has served as UT president since January 2011.