NASHVILLE – The newly-constituted University of Tennessee Board of Trustees held its organizational meeting today in Nashville to select a chair and establish committee memberships.
The special meeting, called by Gov. Bill Haslam, included the administration of the trustee oath of office by Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Jeff Bivins, adoption of the bylaws of the board of trustees along with election of the chair of the board and appointment of committees.
Haslam said the meeting, which took place at the Nashville Public Library, was an historic occasion.
“The university, with all of the challenges it has faced, has never been stronger,” Haslam said. “I have a lot of confidence in this board.”
UT President Joe DiPietro also welcomed the trustees to the smaller board newly formed under the UT FOCUS Act that the Tennessee General Assembly passed during its 2018 session. The assembly, at Haslam’s request, reduced the size of the board from 27 members to 12, including the Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture Jai Templeton and a non-voting student member. The assembly has confirmed seven trustees who, along with Templeton, make up the new board.
In his welcome, DiPietro gave advice ranging from telling board members to remember they represent the interests of Tennessee’s residents to encouraging them to ask questions and challenge UT administrators.
“Thrill in our successes with us and help us when we fall short of the mark,” DiPietro said.
John Compton, who graduated from UT Knoxville in 1983, was elected to serve as chair of the board. Compton is a partner for Clayton, Dubilier and Rice, a leading private investment firm, where he serves as chairman of three companies. A native of Greeneville, Tennessee, he spent the majority of his career with PepsiCo and was named global president in 2011. He has been actively involved in the UT Knoxville Haslam College of Business and has served on its Dean’s Advisory Board for the past 15 years. In 2014, the University awarded him Torchbearer, the university’s highest alumni honor. His wife, Cindy, has served on the Chancellor’s Advisory Board for the Knoxville campus. His term with the UT Board of Trustees will expire in 2024.
“I am extremely honored to serve as trustee of the University that I love. Collectively, our new board is prepared and energized to work collaboratively with all stakeholders to continue moving our university system forward,” Compton said.
The trustees appointed members to its four new committees – Executive Committee; Audit and Compliance Committee; Education, Research and Service Committee; and Finance and Administration Committee.
Trustees on the Executive Committee are: Compton, Amy Miles, Bill Rhodes, Donnie Smith and Kim White. Trustees on the Audit and Compliance Committee are: Miles as the chair, Crawford Gallimore as an external member, Lang Wiseman and Compton. Trustees on the Education, Research and Service Committee are: Smith as the chair, Kara Lawson, Jai Templeton, student trustee, faculty representative, Compton and DiPietro. Members of the Finance and Administration Committee are: Rhodes as chair, Miles, White, Compton and DiPietro.
In other business, the trustees authorized the Executive Committee to appoint a student enrolled at the UT Health Science Center to the non-voting student trustee position on the board and a faculty member at UT Knoxville to the Education, Research, and Service Committee. The non-voting student position will rotate among the campuses, with next year’s appointment coming from UT Knoxville. The faculty member’s committee appointment will also rotate among the campuses, with next year’s appointment coming from UT Martin.
In addition to the current trustees, four more trustees, including the non-voting student, will be appointed in the future.
The board’s first regular meeting will be held in Knoxville Nov. 1 and 2.