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Incoming University of Tennessee president John Petersen told university trustees meeting in Knoxville Thursday that he will encourage and develop ways to improve UT programs.

“Higher education isn’t like a business, because there is no bottom-line profit,” Petersen said, “so it’s easy to start programs, but not so easy to stop them.

“But if you can have academic leadership that engages faculty and the administration about repositioning programs to build their quality, UT can be really ahead of other institutions,” Petersen said.

“There are a lot of things we have at UT that will enable us to set the stage for growth and excellence in the future.”

Petersen said he is gratified that there is such broad support in Tennessee for the university’s goals.

“The governor and the legislature have been very supportive. That doesn’t mean that life is going to be easy,” Petersen said.

“Across the country it has been tough times for higher education. Over the last few years most every institution has suffered budget cuts. But I’m excited. I think the opportunities are phenomenal.”

In his remarks, Petersen expressed his gratitude on behalf of himself and his wife, Carol.

“Our lives were changed when the board selected me as the next president of UT,” Petersen said. “Carol and I couldn’t be happier with what’s happened. Our lives have changed for the better, and we are so grateful.”

Outgoing UT president Joe Johnson was honored with a resolution saluting his many years of service to the university.

In other action, trustees approved a 7.9 percent tuition increase for most UT students around the state. At UT-Knoxville, in-state undergraduate students will pay $4,640 next year.

Because no increases are recommended for other fees, such as programs and services, technology and transportation, the effective Knoxville tuition increase is 6.7 percent.

Students in professional programs will see increases ranging from 3 to 15 percent.
Also approved Thursday was a $1.16 billion budget for the 2005 fiscal year, a $5.6 million increase from 2004.

Trustee Don Stansberry was selected as the board’s next vice chairman, replacing Clayton McWhorter.