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Karen Sowers

Karen Sowers, dean of UT’s College of Social Work, was honored last week at a dedication ceremony for the new Dr. Karen M. Sowers Dean’s Suite in Henson Hall. Sowers is UT’s longest-serving dean and earlier this year announced her plans to retire. Sowers has led the college for the last 20 years.

In conjunction with the dedication, Tennessee Representative Roger Kane presented a Senate joint resolution recognizing and congratulating Sowers.

Rep. Roger Kane

Darrell Akins, a member of the college’s Board of Visitors who acted as emcee for the event, read a letter of congratulations from Tennessee First Lady Crissy Haslam. It read, “Thank you for your service to the University of Tennessee and to the State of Tennessee. The students that you have trained in the art and science of social work will have an enormous impact on our future. Thank you for instilling leadership in your students. We need their voices. Your years of service as Dean have shaped the college, the faculty and staff, the students, the social workers in the field, and the families, children, and citizens—present, past and future. What a legacy you leave!”

Sowers’s last day will be August 15. In recognition of her leadership, Sowers will be named dean emerita and professor emerita.

Professor David Dupper will become interim dean of the college on August 16.


Betsy DeGeorge (865-974-8638,

Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,