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Lee Riedinger, director of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education, has announced plans to retire at the end of 2018. He was appointed in 2010 to serve as the center’s first director.

Lee Riedinger

The center unites resources and capabilities from UT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to promote advanced research and provide innovative solutions to global challenges in energy, engineering, and computation. There are 132 students currently enrolled in the center’s doctoral programs.

“It is difficult to walk away from something that has been such a significant part of my life for eight years, but the timing is right,” said Riedinger. “Interim Chancellor Davis played an integral role in creating the Bredesen Center and its doctoral programs. I know he and the search committee will find an excellent replacement.”

Riedinger joined the physics faculty at UT in 1971. He has held various administrative positions at UT and served as interim vice chancellor for research three times (1991–95, 2006–07, and 2012). Riedinger was a major force in strengthening the relationship between UT and ORNL in his posts as ORNL’s deputy director for science and technology, beginning in 2000, and as associate laboratory director for university partnerships, from 2004 to 2006.

Riedinger served as director of the UT Science Alliance Center of Excellence for five years in the late 1980s, as associate vice chancellor for research from 1991 to 1995, and as head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy from 1996 to 2000. He was the first chair of the Tennessee Science and Technology Advisory Council, serving from 1993 to 1996.

In 2000, Riedinger helped lead the formation of UT-Battelle LLC and the successful competition to assume the management of ORNL, becoming ORNL’s deputy director for science and technology. In that role, he worked to expand the capabilities of the laboratory through joint programs with UT and other leading universities. In 2007, he returned to teaching and research in the UT physics department.

His numerous accolades from UT include the Chancellor’s Research Scholar award in 1983, the Macebearer award in 2008, the Chancellor’s Medal in 2012, and the L. R. Hesler Award for Excellence in Teaching and Service in 2013. In 2017 the Graduate Student Senate named him Graduate Director of the Year.

Riedinger has worked at the Niels Bohr Institute in Denmark. He served as the elected chair of the Division of Nuclear Physics of the American Physical Society (APS) in 1996 and as the chair of the Southeastern Section of the APS in 2004. In 1983–84, he was the science advisor to Tennessee Senator Howard Baker, who was then the majority leader of the US Senate.

Riedinger has authored 200 refereed publications, has given 60 invited talks at conferences and workshops, and is a fellow of the APS and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

During his retirement, Riedinger plans to travel, spend time with family, and work on a book about the history of the UT-Oak Ridge connection. Each fall, he will return to UT to teach introductory energy science and technology courses.

“Dr. Riedinger was the perfect person to have been selected to direct the Bredesen Center based on his strong interaction between UT and ORNL,” said Interim Chancellor Wayne T. Davis. “He was the director from the beginning and worked tirelessly to expand the program to its current number of PhD students. We have been extremely fortunate to have had his leadership in these very important multidisciplinary programs. He has built a solid foundation for the future of the center and its programs.”

Davis anticipates having a successor in place by January 1, 2019. Interested internal applicants can learn more about the position and apply online.

Chancellor Emeritus Jimmy G. Cheek and Michelle Buchanan will co-chair the internal search. Cheek is a Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and director of the Post-Secondary Educational Resources Center in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences, who as chancellor was responsible for the formation and growth of the Bredesen Center. Buchanan is deputy director of ORNL and executive vice president for science and technology with UT-Battelle LLC.

Members of the search committee are Shaun Gleason, director of the Cyber and Data Analytics Division at ORNL; Veerle Keppens, professor and head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in the Tickle College of Engineering and director of the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials; Bamin Khomami, Granger and Beaman Distinguished Professor, head of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and director of the Sustainable Energy Education and Research Center; Zach Sims, graduate student in the Bredesen Center; Soren Sorensen, professor of physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences; Russell Zaretzki, Heath Faculty Fellow, Joe Johnson Faculty Research Fellow, and associate professor in the Department of Business Analytics and Statistics in the Haslam College of Business; Tracey Wellington, Bredesen Center graduate and technical staff member at ORNL; and Wanda Davis, Bredesen Center business manager.


Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,