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UT Board of Trustees Approves Proposal to Transition to New Fundraising Model

Category: Advocacy

KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee Board of Trustees today approved a proposal to boost UT’s system-wide fundraising efforts by transitioning to an interdependent foundation model.

The board ended its meeting by electing Joe DiPietro, UT Institute of Agriculture chancellor, as the University’s next president. For more information about DiPietro, visit

The Foundations Study Committee, created by the board in 2008, has reviewed the effectiveness of the UT Foundation, which is currently a small fundraising arm dependent on the University for support. Most of the University’s fundraising efforts are centered in the Office of Development with officers on each campus.

The committee recommended changing the UT Foundation to an interdependent foundation, which would require less direct support from the University. The goal would be to raise at least $100 million more a year by 2020. Structurally, certain UT development staff would be leased to the foundation, and the UT Foundation’s affiliation agreement with the University would have to be altered.

Tennessee Comptroller Justin Wilson attended the meeting and spoke in favor of the proposal.

With approval from the trustees, the University can now seek approval from the General Assembly during next year’s legislative session.

Interim President Jan Simek gave his final report to the board as he will return to the UT Knoxville faculty when the next president takes office.

“It’s been a great, great honor to serve this institution,” Simek said.

“We’ve been challenged in recent years with funding shortfalls, and we’ll continue to be challenged. In the Complete College Tennessee Act, we have another great challenge but also a great opportunity to make higher education in Tennessee better for everyone we serve.”

In other action, the board:

  • Approved a program of study leading to the degree of Ph.D. in energy science and engineering at UT Knoxville. The program is integral to the Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education (CIRE), set to open this coming fall. In collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, students will be able to specialize in nuclear energy, bioenergy and biofuels, renewable energy, energy conversion and storage, distributed energy and grid management and environmental and climate sciences related to energy. The program is expected to bring in 20-40 new graduate students per year. CIRE also is home to the UTK-ORNL Distinguished Graduate Fellowship Program. The center was launched with $6.2 million in startup funding, provided through a one-time commitment of Gov. Phil Bredesen to UT Knoxville.
  • Approved a master plan for UT Martin, which includes proposals for new academic buildings and student housing.
  • Approved bylaw amendments concerning the now vacant Chief Internal Auditor position, authorizing the chair of the Audit Committee to make interim appointments and to identify candidates for recommendation to the Audit Committee.
  • Approved the agreement between the UT Health Science Center and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital for a new pediatric specialty faculty group practice that will allow the children’s hospital and the University to jointly recruit highly trained, highly sought-after pediatric specialists to Memphis.
  • Approved the annual flight operations report.
  • Approved the operating budget appropriations request.
  • Approved the capital outlay and capital maintenance projects.
  • Approved revenue/institutionally funded projects.
  • Approved the annual report to the General Assembly.

An archived webcast of this meeting is available at

To view the meeting’s full agenda and materials, go to

Category: Advocacy