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KNOXVILLE — Margie Nichols, currently chief of staff to the University of Tennessee president, will be named interim vice chancellor for communications for the UT Knoxville campus. Nichols’ appointment was jointly announced on Thursday by UT President John Petersen and UT Knoxville Interim Chancellor Jan Simek.

Margie Nichols
Margie Nichols
Nichols will succeed Tom Milligan, who is to become executive vice chancellor for university relations at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on Sept. 1. She joined UT in November 2007 as a member of the president’s senior staff.

“Margie has spent the past several months developing the chief of staff position and leaves the office in a good posture to go forward,” Petersen said. “Next steps for filling the vacancy at chief of staff are to be determined shortly, with transition into her new role taking place in the next month.”

Simek said, “Margie’s background and experience make her uniquely qualified to head the strong communications and marketing team at UT Knoxville that includes media relations, creative communications and video and photo services, as well as Public Radio WUOT 91.9 FM. Under her leadership, this team will be able to continue its success in promoting the flagship campus and its unique role in the state.”

Nichols has served as past president of the Executive Women’s Association and is a former member of the UT National Alumni Association Board of Governors Executive Committee. She is a former chair of the UT Knoxville Chancellor’s Associates, and she has a bachelor’s degree in English from UT Martin.

Before joining UT, Nichols was senior director of communications and government relations for Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam. She joined Haslam’s senior staff in January 2004 with responsibility for internal and external communications for the city. She worked for 25 years in television news, including an eight-year stint as news director at WBIR-TV in Knoxville, and in positions with Nashville and Memphis TV stations.


Karen Collins, (865)974-5186,

Gina Stafford, (865)974-0741,