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KNOXVILLE -– University of Tennessee President John Petersen and UT Knoxville Chancellor Loren Crabtree jointly announced today that Crabtree will step down as chancellor, effective immediately.

The announcement followed what both Petersen and Crabtree termed “a discussion in which we arrived at a joint decision.”

Both said, “We share common goals for the university and for the Knoxville campus, but we have some differing philosophies in the area of governance. We agree it is time to put those differences aside in the interest of best enabling the university to continue to take advantage of unprecedented opportunities and success in key research and academic areas.”

Petersen added, “Loren Crabtree has done an excellent job leading the Knoxville campus, including through one of the most difficult periods of instability in the university’s history, and he has presided over a nationally acclaimed series of accomplishments.”

Crabtree said, “I am proud of the accomplishments of UT Knoxville during my seven-year tenure here, particularly the improvements in the quality of our students and our faculty and staff. I believe this campus is positioned to become one of the best public universities in the nation. I am happy to have been a part of that progress.”

Petersen said his strategic direction reflects the charge given him by the Board of Trustees to ensure the university continues meeting its teaching, research and land-grant responsibilities to the people of Tennessee.

He said this direction “absolutely includes continuing to build on Knoxville’s prominence as the flagship campus and research institution but seeks to maximize the opportunities and contributions for all the university’s campuses and its statewide role.”

Petersen said an interim chancellor will be named within days, and that a search committee representing broad input will be formed quickly.

“This is a great university,” Petersen said, “and we will attract excellent leadership who will continue the priority of making UT one of the top-tier universities in the country.”


Hank Dye, (865) 974-8184,
Gina Stafford, (865) 974-0741,