MARTIN, Tenn. — University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro and his wife, Deb, made a final official visit Nov. 14 to the University of Tennessee at Martin, where they attended a campus reception in their honor. Dr. Joe DiPietro has served as the UT System’s 25th president since January 2011 and will retire from the position effective Feb. 14, 2019. His last active day in office will be Nov. 21.
During the reception, Dr. Todd Winters, dean of the UT Martin College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, and Dr. Phil Cavalier, university provost, presented DiPietro with the title of distinguished professor of animal science in the Department of Agriculture, Geosciences and Natural Resources. This is the first such title to be presented by UT Martin and acknowledges DiPietro’s career as a veterinarian before he accepted the position as UT System president.
Dr. Keith Carver, UT Martin chancellor, then announced the dedication of a campus light pole in honor of the DiPietros and their service to the university. The dedicated light pole will be located near Brehm Hall, which houses the animal science program, and affixed with a plaque that reads, “Lighting the path for future generations. Presented in honor of their leadership, friendship and volunteer spirit in advancing UT Martin and the success of its students. Joe and Deb DiPietro, Nov. 14, 2018.”
“Our greatest asset is our people, and our most beautiful asset is the quad. And so as our people – all 8,000 students, faculty, staff and alumni – are walking that quad, they will walk past your plaque,” said Carver. “You will always have a home here, and you will always be remembered fondly. God bless you, and we love you.”
“It didn’t take me long to fall in love with this place; it happened right away,” said DiPietro. “I want to thank you because you’ve always been in my corner. I’ve never had stronger support across the (UT) System than from here from the very beginning. If you think about my election to this office, which was about as narrow as you could get, the (UT) Martin trustees were right behind me. …
“I feel blessed by the fact that I came through with an 11-10 vote, and somehow, by the grace of God, I got the job. It’s been a privilege to serve you, and it’s been a real privilege to have you work so hard that we’ve broken four or five or six system-wide records. If you look at enrollment, if you look at fundraising, if you look at retention rate, don’t think you didn’t pitch in to make that all happen,” he continued.
“Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts for who you are and what you’re about and for what you did to advance the University of Tennessee on my watch. It’s been a privilege to work with you and a great opportunity, a capstone career position that I’ve had the privilege to fill.”
The UT Board of Trustees has appointed Randy Boyd, a University of Tennessee, Knoxville alumnus and businessman, to serve as the UT System’s interim president beginning Nov. 22. Boyd will serve up to 24 months or until a new president is appointed following an external search.
For more information, contact the UT Martin Office of University Relations at 731-881-7615.