For more than 150 years at the University of Tennessee, we have done more than make higher education accessible—we have worked to find solutions to improve people’s lives. Through that entwined mission of educating and finding solutions, we have improved and changed the trajectory of lives, families and generations.
Now we’re doing that in tackling the opioid crisis that has too many of our fellow Tennesseans in its grasp.
As I said earlier this year during my State of the University address, our work to educate, discover and connect often overlaps: Education can involve research, research can yield discovery and that discovery can make life better. When we combine all three of those life-changing tools into one powerful force, focused on a problem from all sides at once, transformational change is possible.
We’re staring down the opioid epidemic, knowing it’s the kind of challenge universities like ours were made to take on. It’s a problem of such complexity and consequence that it will require all we can do to overcome it. But we’re not in it alone. Many of our alumni also have joined the battle.
A problem as pervasive and insidious as opioid addiction can’t be overcome with a single solution. It will take all of us working together to prune back and uproot this invasive weed that has ensnared so many.
But we’re giving it all we’ve got.
All the best,
Dr. Joe DiPietro has served as UT president since January 2011.