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Front of Howard Baker Center - 10.25-16 - Photo by Kellie Crye Ward

UT’s Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy today announced its new board members and new programming with remarks from board chair Jim Haslam, founder and CEO of Pilot Flying J, Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, UT Chancellor Beverly Davenport, and Baker Center Director Matt Murray.

Matt Murray
Matt Murray

“I am very excited about the opportunity to work with the new Baker Center Board of Directors, which includes some familiar faces and also some new contributors,” said Murray. “Senator Alexander’s remarks at our board meeting today motivated the group to help us pursue new challenges and opportunities in support of Senator Baker’s legacy.”

Two of those opportunities include the center’s interdisciplinary minor in public policy analytics and the Washington Program, a two-week intensive trip to Washington, DC, where students will learn about pressing public policy issues from some of the nation’s top public servants, researchers, and journalists.

“Senator Baker was so successful because he did his best to be an ‘eloquent listener’ who remembered that ‘the other fellow might be right’—skills that this generation of political leaders, as well as the next, would do well to learn,” said Alexander. “Howard Baker inspired and challenged three generations of political leaders. The Baker Center’s new Washington Program will help students learn the workings of government in our nation’s capital and will create remarkable opportunities for new generations to learn the same valuable lessons.”

The center was established in 2003 to honor the life and legacy of Baker, a US senator for Tennessee and ambassador to Japan.

“Senator Baker was known for his unwavering integrity, commitment to public service, and dedication to civility—values the center is proud to carry forward in its research, education, and public engagement programming with its new board,” said Murray.

The 2018 board members are (in alphabetical order after the chair):

  • Chair—Jim Haslam, Founder and CEO, Pilot Flying J
  • Michael Adams, President Emeritus, University of Georgia
  • Cissy Baker, former Vice President, Tribune Broadcasting
  • Pat Butler, President and CEO, America’s Public Television Stations
  • Jimmy Cheek, Chancellor Emeritus, UT
  • A. B. Culvahouse, Attorney and Partner, O’Melveny and Myers
  • Beverly Davenport, Chancellor, UT
  • David Golden, Senior Vice President, Eastman
  • Tom Griscom, former Executive Editor and Publisher, Chattanooga Times Free Press and Director of Communications for former President Ronald Reagan
  • Bill Johnson, President and CEO, TVA
  • Theresa Lee, Dean, UT College of Arts and Sciences
  • Margaret Scobey, former Ambassador to Syria and Egypt
  • Don Stansberry, Attorney (retired), Baker, Worthington, Crossley and Stansberry
  • Don Sundquist, former Governor of Tennessee and US Congressman
  • John Tolsma, Founder, Knowledge Launch
  • Thomas Zacharia, Director, Oak Ridge National Laboratory


Matt Murray (865-974-6098,

Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,