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UT Presidential Search Committee Names Five Candidates to Invite for Visits

October 07, 2010

KNOXVILLE -- The University of Tennessee Presidential Search Committee selected five candidates today to invite for the first round of visits and interviews next week.

The visits, consisting of an open forum and several meetings with the Search Committee, Search Advisory Council and other University staff and officials, will be held Oct. 12-13 at UT Knoxville.

"I think we have a good group," said Jim Murphy, chairman of the search committee. "We have a lot of work to do. We are not finished yet. We are just starting. It is time for us to dig in and get all the information we can about these candidates."

Here is a list of the candidates to be invited for interviews:

  • Jerry Askew, senior vice president for external relations, Mercy Health Partners in Knoxville since 2001; former dean of students, associate vice chancellor for development and alumni affairs and assistant vice chancellor for development at UT Knoxville; an applicant in the previous presidential search.
  • Joe DiPietro, chancellor, UT Institute of Agriculture since 2006; dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida from 1997 to 2006; also held administrative positions at the University of Illinois, Urbana.
  • Craig Fitzhugh, chairman and CEO of the Bank of Ripley since 1992; has served in the State House of Representatives since 1994 and is chair of the House Finance Ways and Means Committee; earned his bachelor's and law degrees at UT Knoxville; an applicant in the previous search.
  • Robert McGrath, consultant for Battelle Memorial Institute on university partnerships, STEM education and Race to the Top initiatives since April; served as senior vice president for research at Ohio State University from 2004 to 2008.
  • Brian Noland, chancellor, West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission since 2006; former associate executive director at the Tennessee Higher Education Commission; earned his doctorate in political science at UT Knoxville.

The University received 71 applications for president, which the Search Advisory Council narrowed to 15 on Wednesday. The search committee discussed 10 of those applicants during its meeting today. Then the search committee filled out ballots to vote for the candidates to be invited.

The president of the University of Tennessee leads a system consisting of campuses in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Martin; the Health Science Center in Memphis; the statewide Institutes of Agriculture and Public Service, and the Space Institute in Tullahoma, which is managed by UT Knoxville.

For more information about the presidential search and an updated schedule for the visits when confirmed and available, go to

Gina Stafford, (865) 974-0741,
Elizabeth Davis, (865) 974-5179,