Joe DiPietro has been elected the 24th president of the University of Tennessee.
The Board of Trustees elected DiPietro during their fall meeting on October 22. He will replace Jan Simek, who has served as interim president since 2009.
The president of the University of Tennessee leads a system consisting of campuses in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Martin; the Health Science Center based in Memphis; the statewide Institutes of Agriculture and Public Service, and the Space Institute in Tullahoma, which is managed by UT Knoxville.
DiPietro currently is chancellor of the UT Institute of Agriculture, a position he has held since 2006. His title was changed from vice president to chancellor in July.
With the help of the search firm Witt/Keiffer, the university developed several key qualifications and expectations of the next president. The president advocates for the university and is a spokesperson for all higher education in the state; works with state and federal legislators and promotes the university to secure appropriations and in decision-making that affects the university; is the chief fundraiser for the university; and has a connection to or prior knowledge of the university and the state.
As chancellor of the UT Institute of Agriculture, DiPietro oversees UT Extension, AgResearch, the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and the College of Veterinary Medicine. DiPietro also served as dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida from 1997 to 2006.
He rose to tenured professor of veterinary clinical medicine and veterinary pathobiology at the University of Illinois, Urbana, and held administrative positions there, including assistant director of the Agriculture Experiment Station and associate dean for research of the College of Veterinary Medicine.
DiPietro earned bachelor’s, doctor of veterinary medicine and master’s degrees at the University of Illinois, Urbana.
DiPietro and his wife, Deb, have three children and six grandchildren. Deb DiPietro is a member of the Tennessee Museum Commission and is a volunteer for a variety of organizations in Tennessee.
DiPietro is the first candidate from within the university to be elected president since Joe Johnson, who was president from 1991 to 1999. Johnson was vice president for development and executive vice president and then acting president for a brief stint after Lamar Alexander left to be U.S. Secretary of Education. Eli Fly, who served as acting president from 2001 to 2002, also previously served as executive vice president. His title was retroactively changed to permanent president after he left office.
DiPietro will replace Interim President Jan Simek on Jan. 1, 2011.