It is an honor to begin serving today as chancellor of the Knoxville campus. I’m happy to officially become a Tennessee Volunteer.
I step into this role with great hope that I can continue the excellent work that many have started and quickly become the strongest advocate possible for the state’s leading public research university.
I look forward to spending time with members of the faculty and staff as well as the student body to learn about our strengths and the wonderful traditions of the university. My primary focus over these next months will be listening and learning as much about the campus and our extended community as I can.
In these first weeks, I will be meeting with a broad representation of campus leaders and groups. I want to share candid discussions to better understand the challenges and opportunities for this year and beyond. Please feel free to tell me what you’re thinking so I can make the most informed decisions for the university.
I appreciate all of the help that so many people have given me over these past several months of transition and for the many thoughtful wishes extended to me and my wife, Ilene.
I especially want to extend my sincere thanks to Dr. Jan Simek and Denise Barlow for their incredible service to the university. As Dr. Simek goes on a research sabbatical, I know he will always be available to me and others to assist and give advice.
I recognize that these are not easy times for our students or any member of our faculty or staff. I’ve been incredibly inspired by the commitment and the energy that so many people have applied to making a great university even better.
I know that it is this volunteer spirit of dedication and passion for UT that will serve to guide and sustain us as we all move forward together.
I look forward to working with you and I hope to see you soon.
Jimmy G. Cheek