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KNOXVILLE—Their research is paving the way for medical advances. They are helping to determine the safety of future space exploration. They are creating great artwork and nurturing young artists, and they are providing sound economic information to state and federal authorities.

That’s a snapshot of the work being done by the new Chancellor’s Professors at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek has named five senior faculty members as the new class of Chancellor’s Professors. This is the university’s highest permanent academic honor.

The new Chancellor’s Professors are:

Jeff Becker

Jeffrey M. Becker is professor and head of the department of microbiology. Becker has trained more than thirty doctoral students who hold faculty or staff positions at many major institutions, has published more than 240 peer-reviewed articles, and has been awarded grants for research from many national agencies. He holds a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant in the thirty-third year of continuous funding, and he has received a Research Career Development Award from NIH. Becker is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He serves on the NIH Drug Discovery and Mechanisms of Antimicrobial Resistance Study Section, on the editorial board of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, and as associate editor of the journal Microbiology. Becker has been a consultant to the pharmaceutical companies Eli Lilly, Merck, and Smith-Kline Beckman.


Suzanne Lenhart

Suzanne Lenhart is a professor of mathematics. Lenhart’s work in the field of mathematical biology has been used in devising drug strategies to treat HIV and in making recommendations to change the chest pressure pattern in CPR. Her work also has been used to help combat environmental problems, such as black bear population control, fishery maintenance and control of the gypsy moth. Lenhart has received grants from the National Science Foundation almost continuously since 1985, and she is the associate director for education, outreach, and diversity at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). She was the director of the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program in the Department of Mathematics for fifteen years and is now the director of such a program for NIMBioS.


Lawrence Townsend

Lawrence Townsend is the Robert M. Condra Professor of Nuclear Engineering. Townsend’s work in space radiation protection and transport codes has been used by NASA’s Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation (CRaTER) project team, part of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft and by the NASA Space Radiation Analysis Group, which handles radiation exposure monitoring for astronauts on manned space missions. Townsend was a senior scientist and radiation expert at NASA before coming to UT Knoxville and recently has been an expert source for the media on radiation sickness symptoms in light of the nuclear crisis in Japan.



Beauvais Lyons

Beauvais Lyons is a James R. Cox Professor of Art. Lyons is an expert in printmaking, contemporary art, art parody, mock documentation, and art censorship issues. His one-person exhibitions have been presented at more than sixty galleries and museums in the United States and abroad. Lyons is well known for his “Hokes Archives,” creating mock academic projects in archaeology, medicine, folk art, and zoology. His prints are in numerous public collections, including the Smithsonian Museum of American Art in Washington, DC, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 2002, and in 2003 and 2004 he served as president of the UT Knoxville Faculty Senate.



Bill Fox

William “Bill” Fox, the William B. Stokely Distinguished Professor of Business and the director of UT’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER), is the leading national expert on Internet taxation and has extensive expertise in state tax policy, public finance (operations between government and private sectors), and fiscal federalism. He has served as a consultant on finance, taxation, and economic development in the United States and in developing countries including Rwanda, Egypt, and Jordan. He has worked with multinational organizations, such as the World Bank, in creating and revamping tax structures for foreign governments.

Chancellor’s Professors are appointed by the chancellor based upon the nomination of a college dean, screening by current Chancellor’s Professors, and recommendation of the provost. The honor comes with a one-time research stipend of $20,000.

The new Chancellor’s Professors will be honored at a luncheon this summer.

With the new honorees, there are now eleven Chancellor’s Professors on campus. The program began in 2008 when the first seven Chancellor’s Professors were announced. They were Joy T. DeSensi, professor of exercise, sport, and leisure studies and associate dean of the Graduate School; Charles Glisson, professor of social work; Sally Horn, professor of geography; Harry “Hap” McSween, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and distinguished professor of earth and planetary sciences; the late John T. “Tom” Mentzer, who was a professor of marketing and logistics; George Pharr, head of the materials science and engineering department; and Carol Tenopir, professor of information sciences.

At any given time, UT can have up to twenty Chancellor’s Professors.

For more information about the program, visit

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely, (865-974-5034,