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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Incoming University of Tennessee President Wade Gilley was honored Friday at a ceremony here.

A resolution was presented lauding Gilley for his service to higher education, the community, and the state of West Virginia as Marshall University president since 1991.

West Virginia Gov. Cecil Underwood bestowed one of the state’s highest honors in naming Gilley a “Distinguished West Virginian.”

Gilley will start his tenure as the University of Tennessee’s 20th president Aug. 1.

The program at Marshall University’s Joan Edwards Fine and Performing Arts Center included remarks from Gov. Underwood, Huntington Mayor Jean Dean and other dignitaries.

Gilley was recognized for elevating academic standards at Marshall University through additional accreditation for university programs, increased academic scholarships, and new technology.

The naming of a staff award program at Marshall the “Nana B. Gilley Outstanding Staff Award” honored his wife, who is a proponent of university staff advancement.

Marshall achievements under Gilley’s tenure include:
— The university’s merger with the West Virginia Graduate College and introduction of the Marshall Plan for Quality Undergraduate Education to help make graduates more competitive.
— Increases in the number of women administrators, faculty salaries and student enrollment.
— Athletic success, including conference and bowl championships in football and more football victories in the 1990s (101) than any other university.
— Tripling of the university endowment to $75 million.

The UT board of trustees in May unanimously elected Gilley to head the university’s statewide system of 42,700 students. He will succeed Dr. Joe Johnson, who is retiring after eight years as UT president.

Before his Marshall presidency, Gilley served 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 and his wife have two grown children and a grandchild.