November 05, 2013
On Nov. 5, 1963, Joe Johnson came to work at the University of Tennessee as the executive assistant to President Andy Holt. Fifty years later, the UT President Emeritus remains one of the most recognized and beloved employees of the University.
In honor of Johnson’s 50 years of continuous service, all UT employees statewide who are future recipients of 50-year service recognition will receive the “Joe Johnson Lifetime Service Award,” UT System President Joe DiPietro announced on Tuesday.
“Dr. Johnson has set the bar for contributions and service to the University. This is a small gesture to honor his great legacy of service by making him the namesake of an award reserved for and earned by UT employees who commit their working lives to the University of Tennessee,” DiPietro said.
Johnson, who celebrated his 80th birthday in July 2013, maintains a busy schedule of meetings and speaking engagements with alumni, donors and community organizations as well as consulting with University leaders.
“Enabling effective recognition of exceptional performance is among the most important responsibilities of any human resources department,” said UT System Vice President for Human Resources Linda Hendricks. “Fifty-year service to a single organization is a rare phenomenon, and I’m very pleased we’ll honor UT employees who reach this milestone with an award that both recognizes their lifetime contributions and pays tribute to Dr. Johnson.”
Johnson has spent most of his UT career in Knoxville. After six years as executive assistant to the president, he was vice president for development from 1969 to 1973. For the next three years, he was chancellor at the Center for the Health Sciences (now UT Health Science Center) in Memphis. From 1973-90, he was vice president for development and executive vice president. He was UT System president from 1990 to 1999. Following his retirement that year, Johnson was named president emeritus, but he then returned to the president’s office as interim for a year. He has been serving in an emeritus capacity since 2004.
Several times a year, employees of all campuses and institutes are recognized for their years of service with UT. As of July 1, 2013, the University employed 11,868 regular faculty and staff. Of those, 24.3 percent have worked at UT between 10 and 20 years, and another 22.1 percent have worked 21 or more years.
Gina Stafford, (865) 974-0741, firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth Davis, (865) 974-5179, email@example.com