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Beverly Davenport
New UT Knoxville Chancellor Beverly Davenport

The UT Board of Trustees has approved Beverly Davenport to become the eighth chancellor of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She will begin on February 15.

The board met in a special called meeting Thursday in Nashville. Watch a replay of the webcast here.

Davenport is the first woman to lead UT Knoxville and the second woman chancellor in UT System history. She will succeed Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek, who has led the flagship campus since February 2009 and announced his intention in June to return to the faculty.

The board action included the granting of Davenport’s tenure in UT’s School of Communication Studies within the College of Communication and Information.

She is currently serving as interim president at the University of Cincinnati. She was senior vice president for academic affairs and provost for three years at UC. Prior to that she was vice provost for faculty affairs at Purdue University, dean of social sciences at the University of Kansas, and chair of the department of communication at the University of Kentucky.

In recommending her to the board Thursday, UT President Joe DiPietro described Davenport as an “incredibly talented” leader.

After the vote, Davenport thanked the board for the opportunity to serve.

“I will honor your confidence in me,” Davenport said. “I can’t wait to be on this campus to do the work you hired me to do.”

After the meeting, Davenport fielded questions from the media about being the first woman chancellor for UT Knoxville.

“Well, first, it feels terrific to be the chancellor of the University of Tennessee,” she said.

“I don’t get up in the morning thinking about how I am the first woman to do this…. But am I proud of it? You bet!” she said.

Davenport said she is proud to think about serving as an inspiration to young women as they consider their careers.

“I am thrilled about that,” she said.

“I am unbelievably fortunate to have had a career that inspires me, that feels like passion, and that doesn’t feel like work,” she said. “But how many people in a lifetime get to do work that fills them up, that makes them feel good about what they are doing?”

Davenport said she is looking forward to talking to faculty, staff, and especially students.

“I have spent my life on college campuses, and I learned early on that those people who are with us for that short time, ­they are the ones who are our next community leaders, our next politicians, our next governors, our next faculty members.

“They are going to lead the changes that we are seeing. I welcome the opportunity to hear from them and to see their vision and hear their views.”

And she is ready to hit the ground running.

“I look forward to getting there and to being a part of the conversation,” she said.

Davenport earned a doctorate in communication with a minor in organizational behavior from the University of Michigan and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communication and journalism from Western Kentucky University.

For more information, visit the UT System web page.