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UT System Names Assistant Vice President of Federal Relations

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Nashville – The University of Tennessee System Office of Government Relations and Advocacy has hired Mackensie Burt McKernan as assistant vice president of federal relations.

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Mackensie Burt McKernan

McKernan will lead UT’s Office of Federal Relations in its newly expanded role and will represent the University’s interests with members of Congress, House and Senate professional committee staff, federal agencies and the White House. Working with the UT System president, chancellors, institute leaders, and the vice president of government relations, McKernan will lead the development and execution of the University’s federal agenda and its response to federal legislation, rules and executive orders. She will also create opportunities for UT students, faculty and staff to showcase expertise at the federal level, work with UT alumni association colleagues on outreach for UT alumni working in the federal government and collaborate with UT’s state government relations team on issues of shared importance to the University. The position reports to Vice President of Government Relations Carey Whitworth.

“We are thrilled to have Mackensie join our team,” Whitworth said. “Her deep legislative background and demonstrated strong leadership ability will be critical as we expand the federal efforts of the UT System.”

McKernan has more than 11 years of experience working within the legislative branch in Washington D.C. A native Tennessean, she previously served as the policy staff lead for former U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander’s Senate Appropriations portfolio with a special focus on Tennessee projects and grants. After serving for nearly seven years on Alexander’s team, McKernan most recently led U.S. Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas’s policy team as legislative director. Among other appointments, Boozman serves as the ranking member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee and on the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

McKernan will begin her role with the UT System on Oct. 3.

“I’m honored to join the University of Tennessee System to advocate for the critical work the University is doing for the state of Tennessee and for the country,” McKernan said. “I am thrilled to once again support my home state as part of the Office of Government Relations and Advocacy in its efforts to advance the UT System forward in Washington.”

“The skilled professionals within the UT System Office of Government Relations and Advocacy are truly at the forefront of our system’s success,” UT System President Randy Boyd said. “We are fortunate to have individuals like McKernan advocating on our behalf so that we can continue to build the greatest decade in UT history.”



Melissa Tindell
505 Summer Place, UT Tower, Knoxville, TN 37902

Natalie Keener
505 Summer Place, UT Tower, Knoxville, TN 37902

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Category: Employees