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Dr. J. Wade Gilley, president of Marshall University in West Virginia, has been recommended to become the 20th president of the University of Tennessee.

An eight-member, UT board of trustees search committee Wednesday voted unanimously to send Gilley’s name to the full board for consideration. The board is scheduled to meet at 9 a.m., Friday, May 7, in the board room of Andy Holt Tower in Knoxville.

If approved, Gilley would succeed Dr. Joe Johnson who has announced he will retire June 30.

All members of the search committee, chaired by Knoxville Trustee Bill Sansom, said they thought Gilley was best-suited for UT’s top administrative position. They cited his academic background, his experience in both higher and public education, and his fund-raising skills.

Dr. James Walker, president of Middle Tennessee State University, and Dr. George Emert, president of Utah State University, also interviewed this week for the post.

Gilley became president of Marshall, in Huntington, W. Va., in 1991 after serving nine years as senior vice president at George Mason University in Virginia. From 1978-1982 he was secretary of education for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

He earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in civil engineering at Virginia Tech University. After finishing the doctorate, Gilley was a Kellogg Fellow at the Institute for Higher Education at the University of Florida.

He is married and has two grown children.