Former dean assumes presidency at Tennessee

Published on
information-circle This article is more than 3 years old
Dr. DiPietro
Dr. Joseph A. DiPietro

Dr. Joseph A. DiPietro, a former veterinary college dean, is now the head of an entire university system.

The University of Tennessee board of trustees elected Dr. DiPietro as the 24th president of its institution Oct. 22.

Dr. DiPietro currently is chancellor of the UT Institute of Agriculture, a position he has held since 2006. As such, he oversees UT Extension, AgResearch, the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, and the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. DiPietro began his career as a professor at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, which is also where he earned his DVM degree in 1976. He rose to hold administrative positions there, including associate dean for research and assistant director of the university's Agricultural Experiment Station.

In 1997, he became dean of the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, and for nearly a decade he remained there, until moving on to Tennessee. In that time, Dr. DiPietro served on numerous committees and boards, including the American Association of Equine Practitioners Biologic and Therapeutic Agents Committee; the U.S. Pharmacopeia Board of Veterinary Medicine; and the National Agricultural Research, Education and Economics Advisory Board. He has held a number of positions with the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.

Dr. DiPietro is the first candidate from within the university system to be elected president since 1991. He was selected from 71 applicants during a search process that lasted nearly a year.

The president of the university is charged with leading 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.

When asked at his introduction ceremony what his best asset was, Dr. DiPietro responded, "In one word: experience. I've been at three major land-grant (universities) now. I've been a faculty member at a land-grant, an assistant director, associate dean and dean, and now vice president and chancellor. That experience is what prepares me, and knowing what the land-grant mission is about."

It has not yet been determined when Dr. DiPietro will take office.