Former Interim UT President Jan Simek called newly named UT President Joe DiPietro “the right man for the job” when he introduced the 24th president to UTC faculty, staff, students and friends of the University.
Recalling difficult budget decisions made in recent months, Simek said the former chancellor of the UT Institute of Agriculture worked hard to do as little damage to the institution and its people as possible. He commended DiPietro’s sensitivity to the “needs, requirements and opportunities of all elements” of the UT system.
Chancellor Roger Brown said he spoke to DiPietro about his vision for the University of Tennessee system and for the role he sees UT Chattanooga playing.
“He has a great respect for what we do here on this campus and I know that he’s going to be a tremendous friend and advocate for us over the years,” Brown said.
DiPietro said his whirlwind experience of meeting constituencies throughout the system in the last two days made him realize “how connected we are to people across the state.”
“I am tickled to death at the job and the opportunity,” DiPietro said. He assured the crowd he would work very hard to advance all components of the UT system.
He also promised to return to the Chattanooga campus to “get a feel for what UTC is about.” He used the image of his old pickup truck to compare the challenges and areas where he may provide help to the campuses, saying in both cases there are a lot of moving parts.
DiPietro said he has fallen in love with UT and he and his wife Deb have fallen in love with the state of Tennessee.
He observed UTC has the only ranked football team in the state of Tennessee, and he looks forward to attending a Mocs game. He also said he had a plan, upon the completion of the swimming pool at the Aquatic and Recreation Center (ARC) .
“When the lazy river is done we’ll be back. Deb and I want to go float on it,” DiPietro said.