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KNOXVILLE — Dr. Loren W. Crabtree of Colorado State University was named vice president and provost of the University of Tennessee Thursday.

The executive committee of UT’s Board of Trustees approved UT President J. Wade Gilley’s recommendation for the university’s chief academic officer in a conference call meeting.

Crabtree, provost and vice president at Colorado State, will assume the Tennessee post in July and succeed Dr. Clifton Woods, interim provost since June 2000.

“We are very fortunate to attract a scholar and administrator of Dr. Crabtree’s caliber to Tennessee,” Gilley said.

“Under his leadership, Colorado State has been moving up the list of the nation’s best public universities. We will put his skills to work as we become one of America’s top 25 public research universities,” he said.

Crabtree was among three finalists for the UT position. He was on campus twice, meeting with faculty, students and staff, and he attended the recent trustees’ meeting in Memphis.

Charles Coffey, chairman of the trustees’ academic planning and programs committee, said Crabtree will be a good fit for UT.

“He has a good understanding of a complex, land-grant university and has proven himself in the role of a provost and vice president,” Coffey said. “I’m excited that he’s coming. He knows how to lead in the academic community and will be a great addition to Wade Gilley’s staff.”

Crabtree, who has been at CSU since 1967, has served as provost and vice president since 1997. He earned the doctorate in history and Asian Studies from the University of Minnesota in 1969.

He said UT’s faculty and Gilley’s vision for the university attracted him to UT.

“The plans that the university has to move into the top 25 are very exciting,” Crabtree said. “The research centers concept is right on the mark as to what universities need to do these days.

“I was delighted to see that kind of strategic plan. It’s forward-looking.”

Crabtree said UT has a great faculty that is poised to move forward.

Before he was named CSU provost, Crabtree was dean of the College of Liberal Arts. In addition to being a professor in the university’s history department, he served as assistant and associate dean at the Ft. Collins, Colo., institution.

Colorado State’s enrollment is approximately 23,000 students.