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KNOXVILLE — Dr. William T. Snyder said Monday he will step down as chancellor of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville Dec. 31 and take on a special assignment for UT President Wade Gilley.

Snyder, named UT-Knoxville’s fifth chancellor in July 1992, will work with the president on academic issues as acting senior vice president until June 30, 2000.

Provost John Peters will be interim chancellor starting Jan. 1, Gilley said.

“When I visited with Dr. Gilley in Huntington (W. Va.) before he came to UT, I indicated my intention to step down at a time convenient to the president,” Snyder said. “I look forward to working with Dr. Gilley in a new role.”

Gilley said Snyder’s experience as a professor, department head, dean and chancellor will be an asset in addressing academic issues at the university.

“Bill Snyder has done a great job in many important positions at the university. I look forward to working with him on academic issues from the perspective of the senior vice president’s office,” Gilley said.

Homer Fisher, UT’s senior vice president, announced earlier that he is retiring Oct. 31. Starting in December, Fisher will work part-time in UT’s Oak Ridge office.

Snyder joined the UT faculty at the Space Institute in Tullahoma in 1964 and came to Knoxville in 1970 as head of engineering science and mechanics. He was named dean of engineering in 1983.

He served as acting vice chancellor for academic affairs and acting chancellor before assuming the position permanently in 1992.

A Knox County native, he received the bachelor’s in engineering from UT in 1954 and earned master’s and doctoral degrees in engineering from Northwestern University.