KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The University of Tennessee system has a new president in a familiar face: Randy Boyd.

The UT Board of Trustees held a special meeting on Friday to consider appointing Randy Boyd to the position of president through June of 2025.

The board initiated the meeting with acknowledgment of the fact they all had to meet via video chat due to the novel coronavirus pandemic as well as a moment of silence for reflection and prayer for all the students and staff impacted by the crisis.

“Virtually, everything has changed,” Board Chairman John Compton said, before going through a timeline of events surrounding the coronavirus outbreak and responses made by UT officials, state officials and the federal government.

“In typical Volunteer Spirit, our teams rallied,” Compton said. “The sacrifices that everyone has made is profound and don’t go unnoticed.”

Classes were moved to online-only, travel for the university was suspended, resident halls were emptied as well as campus buildings and overall adaptation had to be quick to face the new reality of a functioning university amid a global pandemic.

“Randy has been championing the ‘One UT’ spirit,” Compton said. “If there’s a time when the ‘One UT’ is needed, it’s now.”

In the board’s discussion about appointing Boyd to president of the university system, Compton outlined the entire selection process, plus a review of the surveys and meetings held.

“I fully support moving forward and I’m thrilled Randy has taken this leadership role,” board member Kim White said.

“Randy has been so servant-focused, so student-focused,” board member Jamie Woodson said. “I strongly support this recommendation and look forward to the next year. It’s important to advance the mission of our university. We deeply appreciate your leadership particularly at this time.”

“I whole-heartedly support Randy and thank you for your leadership,” board member Alan Wilson said.

Other board members remarked on how Boyd was a great choice to lead the university amid the challenging times presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

The resolution to appoint Boyd as president passed unanimously.

Votes for Boyd by board members were taken by roll call, given the electronic video quorum.

In February, the board had announced dropping the “interim” from Boyd’s title, as he had been the acting president of the UT system since November 2018. Board Chairman John Compton had said in February he recommended the move extending Boyd’s term with UT for five more years.

A series of town hall meetings at UT campuses across the state were held March 4-11 to hear from students, faculty and staff about the idea.

Boyd, a UT-Knoxville alumnus and local businessman, will serve as president until June 30, 2025.