The University of Tennessee Board of Trustees will consider a former Republican gubernatorial candidate to serve as the head of the state’s university system.
The UT Board of Trustees, the governing body of the statewide University of Tennessee system, announced Wednesday they will consider hiring former Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd serve as the interim president for 24 months following current UT President Joe DiPietro’s recent retirement announcement.
DiPietro’s official last day as UT president is set for February 14, 2019, but he plans to step down from active service November 21 to use his remaining vacation time.
Boyd, a Knoxville businessman and UT alumnus, finished second in August’s Republican gubernatorial primary behind Bill Lee with about 24 percent of votes.
A release from the Board of Trustees said that if appointed, Boyd has declined to be paid a salary.
UT Board Chair John Compton said appointing an interim president gives the trustees time to plan for the University’s future. The board says they have already had conversations with University and education leaders about a possible hire.
“These conversations have revealed that it is necessary to take a step back and evaluate the strategic needs of each campus and institute and support required from the UT System Administration in order to raise the bar on our overall success,” said Compton.
Boyd has been a prominent supporter of the UT system, with a research center and seed grant program at the Knoxville campus already bearing his name.
“Randy is a Tennessean, a UT alumnus and a hugely successful business person. He has invested in the University, personally and financially,” Compton said. “The University of Tennessee is more than its network of campuses and institutes across the state. We have a presence in every county across this state. During the past 18 months, Randy has visited every county at least two times, he knows the landscape, he has relationships and understands the needs of our state.”
The University of Tennessee Board of Trustees will meet on Tuesday, Sept. 25, in Knoxville to consider the appointment of an interim president.
Compton says Boyd could be considered for the position permanently, but would be part of a nationwide search.