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KNOXVILLE — Jack E. Williams, University of Tennessee vice president for development and alumni affairs, has been named senior adviser to UT President John Petersen.

Williams, who joined the university staff in August 1970, will be senior adviser for philanthropy, Petersen announced Friday.

“As we continue to focus more on major gifts, a key element is having an individual who knows and has worked with our major donors and prospective donors for a long period of time,” Petersen said. “There is certainly no one more qualified than Jack for this role.

Williams said he looks forward to focusing his attention on major prospects.

“Having reached my 62nd birthday and anticipating retirement in the next two to three years, the president needs to bring on board a person who will be here for the next 10 years,” Williams said. “It’s in UT’s best interest to make a change now.”

UT’s fund raising and alumni programs have long been recognized as among the most successful in the Southeast and the nation, Petersen said.

Under Williams’ tenure as vice president, private giving to UT has grown from $70 million in 1998 to more than $136 million last fiscal year.

Williams said he attributes any personal and programmatic success he has had to those who preceded him.

“The vision and planning of Andy Holt, Ed Boling, Joe Johnson, Charlie Brakebill and a lot of dedicated staff people are responsible for the university’s outstanding development and alumni affairs programs,” he said.

Holt recognized the need for private support of public universities in the 1950s and established the UT Development Council in 1955, Williams said.

Brakebill preceded Williams as UT vice president for development and alumni affairs.

UT President Emeritus Joe Johnson will head the search advisory committee that will identify and screen candidates for the vice presidency. Petersen said he hopes to name Williams’ successor in the spring of 2005. Williams will continue as vice president until an appointment is made.

Williams, a 1964 UT history graduate, served as vice chancellor for development and alumni affairs at the Knoxville campus before he was named vice president in 1997.

He and his wife, Carolyn, have two children and five grandchildren.