Within 24 hours of firing Beverly Davenport as Chancellor, the University of Tennessee had an interim in place. UT President Joe DiPietro named Wayne Davis, dean of the UT Knoxville Tickle College of Engineering, the interim chancellor a day after firing Davenport.
According to DiPietro, Davis has agreed to served as the interim chancellor for the next 6-12 months and put off his planned retirement to serve in the position. And Davis sent out a letter titled “We are resilient” to UT alumni on Monday morning.
“This is an important week on our campus as we gather to honor our students and their accomplishments,” Davis began his email. “I know that for many, this is also a difficult time. A change in leadership is never easy. I want you to know how committed I am to supporting our students, faculty, and staff and to providing stability to our university through this transition. I also want to thank Dr. Davenport for her service to the University of Tennessee.”
Davis goes on to call the university “a dynamic and innovative institution” while touting the growth of the university and national acclaim UT’s students have achieved. He also proved he has the credentials necessary to serve as interim chancellor.
“Many of you know I first arrived on this campus more than four decades ago as a student myself,” Davis writes. “Now, 47 years later, I am humbled and honored to serve an institution that means so much to me.
“We are resilient and together we will continue to advance the University of Tennessee.”
Davis has been at UT for the last 44 years as a member of the faculty and in administration. He was the assistant dean of the UT Knoxville Graduate School from 1985 through 1988 and was the associate dean from 1988 through 1991 for the same program. He became interim dean of the Tickle College of Engineering in 2008 before assuming the role permanently in 2009. He is also a two-time UT Knoxville graduate, with a master’s degree in Environmental Engineering and a doctorate in Civil Engineering from the Tickle College of Engineering.
In 2003, Davis was named University Macebearer, the university’s highest faculty honor. He has been recognized for his service and accomplishments by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy and Department of Transportation; the National Science Foundation, ORNL, and the American Society for Engineering Education.
Tennessee is expected to find a permanent chancellor within the 6-12 month time frame Davis will serve as interim.