New UT President DiPietro has first day on the job

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Monday was the first day on the job for new UT President Joe DiPietro, who started the work day by having coffee with employees in Knoxville, then presided over his first president's staff meeting.

The UT system's 24th president succeeds John Petersen, who abruptly resigned in February 2009 after disagreements with board members over donors and other issues.

UT Knoxville anthropology professor Jan Simek has worked as interim president.

According to a news release from the university, once the legislative session begins, DiPietro will begin lobbying for employee pay increases and permission for the university to establish a foundation that will encompass all development functions.

The UT system includes campuses in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Martin; the Health Science Center in Memphis; state Institutes of Agriculture and Public Service; and the Space Institute in Tullahoma.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

My first day in the office as UT president
From: UT President Joe DiPietro

Getting to Work

Today is my first day in the office as president of the University of Tennessee, and I'm rolling up my sleeves and getting to work.

After my election, I made quick visits to each campus, and I have been back to all of them for additional meetings in the meantime. I am in the process of scheduling additional visits that will let me spend more time getting to know each place and its distinctiveness.

I'm grateful to Dr. Jan Simek for his outstanding service as interim president. He has been a steadying influence and strong advocate for the University over the last 22 months. He has guided us through these difficult economic times, and I believe his efforts have us on a sound foundation as we begin 2011.

We have challenges ahead of us, particularly at the end of the current fiscal year when the stimulus funding runs out. I believe we are prepared for that moment.

Much of my time over the next several months will be spent advocating for the University of Tennessee in Nashville. There are two main issues to take up with the General Assembly.

The first is compensation for our employees. We need help from the state to provide some level of pay increase because it has been far too long since employees received raises. The second task is to pass legislation needed to create an interdependent UT Foundation that will boost our development efforts.

I look forward to getting to know more of the statewide UT family as we go forward together. Please use UTALK to contact me or members of my staff if you have a question, concern or suggestion. Also know that my door is always open.

All the best.

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