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Chancellor Donde Plowman has named four senior faculty members as the new class of Chancellor’s Professors at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville—Ted Stank, Kevin Tomsovic, Robert Trigiano, and Penny White. This designation honors extraordinary scholarly attainment in an individual discipline or field and a record of excellence in teaching and service to the university.

“I am thrilled to introduce the 2021 class of Chancellor’s Professors, recipients of the highest lifetime faculty honor bestowed by our university,” said Plowman. “These four exceptional scholars, researchers, and professors embody the best of what UT has to offer. With expertise spanning international business, electrical engineering, worldwide agriculture, and the law, they represent our university with distinction.”

Full-time tenured faculty with a minimum of five years of service are nominated by their college dean and chosen for recommendation to the provost and chancellor by current Chancellor’s Professors. Those selected receive a one-time research stipend of $20,000. The Chancellor’s Professors meet at regular intervals to advise the provost, vice chancellor for research and engagement, and chancellor on matters of concern to the campus.

“Discovering, problem-solving, mentoring, collaborating, and community-building are just some of the qualities these Chancellor’s Professors exhibit,” said Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor John Zomchick. “They exemplify the courage to think big and rally around brave ideas that stretch thinking in every direction. Their enthusiasm and dedication to intellectual inquiry open up possibilities for bringing more good to the world.”

Meet this year’s recipients:

Ted Stank

Ted Stank is the Harry J. and Vivienne R. Bruce Chair of Excellence in Business in the Haslam College of Business’ Department of Supply Chain Management and the faculty director of UT’s Global Supply Chain Institute. He leads the Advanced Supply Chain Collaborative, a joint initiative among UT and leading Fortune 500 partner firms, which is working to build a better understanding of innovative applications. His research focuses on the strategic implications and performance benefits associated with supply chain management best practices. He has published more than 100 articles in academic and professional journals and co-authored five books.

Kevin Tomsovic

Kevin Tomsovic is director of the Center for Ultra-Wide-Area Resilient Electric Energy Transmission Networks, known as CURENT, a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center. He is also the CTI Professor in the Tickle College of Engineering’s Min Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. In 2018, he was recognized with the university’s Research and Creative Achievement Award for his work reviving UT’s power program, leading to new hires, a significant expansion of research activities, and recognition as one of the top power system and power electronics programs in the country.

Robert Trigiano

Robert Trigiano is an Institute Professor in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology in the Herbert College of Agriculture. He works on genomics, population genetics, propagation of endangered plants, diseases of ornamentals, and molecular marker systems for various plants and pathogens. At UT since 1984, he has a distinguished record of research and teaching, with more than 225 research articles and book chapters, 10 edited and authored books, and nine patents. He has conducted scientific writing courses at UT and for universities and scientific societies on five continents. He is associate director of the Weed Diagnostic Center, editor in chief of Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences, and chief manager of Creative Agricultural Technologies, an LLC founded in 2005 to market ornamental plants developed at UT.

Penny White

Penny White is the Elvin E. Overton Distinguished Professor of Law and director of the Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution in the College of Law. Before beginning her career in academia, she practiced criminal defense, civil rights, and family law. She has successfully argued before the US Supreme Court and has served as a judge at every level of the state court system, including as a justice on the Tennessee Supreme Court. Since joining UT she has received the university’s Jefferson Prize for excellence in research and creative activity and the Alumni Outstanding Teacher Award, among other recognitions. She has published numerous articles on evidence, criminal procedure, and ethics, authored a book on the defense of capital cases, and co-authored a bench book for judges on capital trials.


Brooks Clark (, 865-974-5471)