New UT President Dr. Joe DiPietro speaks at event Monday
• “He said all the right things.”
• “He seems like a good guy. And he’s from UT!”
• “He doesn’t seem like a loose cannon!”
Those were some of the comments heard in the crowd of nearly 300 business people gathered at the Knoxville Convention Center Monday to welcome the new University of Tennessee president, Joe DiPietro.
The reception, sponsored by Pilot Flying J, First Tennessee, the News Sentinel and University of Tennessee Medical Center, was the first up-close-and-personal get-together for the combined “town” and “gown” crowds. It also was on DiPietro’s first working day as president.
“I’ll bring stability to this position,” DiPietro wisely pledged, to applause. He said his first priority is to get around to all the UT campuses across the state. He already has been to the Memphis campus four times, Martin twice and Chattanooga twice, he said.
The stability promise was a relief to local community leaders who have endured three tumultuous tenures of UT presidents over the past 10 years: J. Wade Gilley from 1999 to 2001; John Shumaker from 2002 to 2003; and John Petersen from 2004 to 2009. All came from outside the UT system. And all went down in flames.
DiPietro, who has been at UT since 2006, was chancellor of the UT Institute of Agriculture. He and his wife, Deborah, came here from the University of Florida where he was dean of veterinary medicine.
“I will be an advocate for all components of the University of Tennessee,” DiPietro said. “I intend to advance and help the university dream more, learn more, do more and be more.”
His concluding remark? “Go Vols!”
Alrighty then. So far, so good.
From left: sponsor Patrick Birmingham of the News Sentinel; sponsor Pam Fansler of First Tennessee; honorees Dr. Joe and Deb DiPietro; sponsor Joe Landsman of UT Medical Center; and Jim Haslam of Pilot Flying J
Moxley Carmichael was in charge of this event (thanks, sponsors!) and I always like to sneak in just before they start and see how the room looks. Here’s what I saw.
It always looks so peaceful and pretty before the event starts!
Later, not so much!
Receiving line was out the door.
The noise level was amazing!
There were a lot of orange ties, including those of Dr. DiPietro and Alan Carmichael.
Donna Cobble greets Joe and Deb DiPietro.
Betsey Creekmore and U.S. Congressman John J. Duncan
John Craig, right, with Jon and Mintha Roach
It also was the first day on the job for Kevin Carver, left, DiPietro's new assistant. He's with Linda and Mike Davidson here.
Jim Haslam and Posey Congleton
State Rep. Ryan Haynes, left, and John Cantrell
Knoxville Police Chief Sterling Owen, left, and County Commissioner Richard Briggs
Denise Harvey, left, and her parents Robert and Edwina Harvey
From left, Keith Goodwin, Danni Varlan and Bruce Anderson
Charlie Brakebill, left, with Liz and Wes Stowers
City Councilman Dan Brown, left, and News Sentinel Editor Jack McElroy
Foster and Dottie Arnett
Eli Fly, left, chats with Jack and Doris Sharp.
Dr. DiPietro greets Barbara and Bernie Bernstein
From left, Theotis and Jonida Robinson, UT Athletic Director Mike Hamilton, and Hank Dye
UT President Emeritus Ed Boling and Mark Boling
Our florist for this event, Samuel Franklin, created these very unique centerpieces for each table. The base lights up.
The centerpieces were of differing heights to add interest. I love the treatment of the stems in this one.
The buffet tables were decorated with -- what else? -- oranges!
One of the most popular food stations was the macaroni bar -- you pick the ingredients and the chef whips you up a plate!
These great Moxley Carmichael staffers handled the name tag table. From left, Tami Hartmann, Amy Foster, Amanda Shell, and Catherine Bodie
OK. Back to photos of attendees!
State Rep. Bill Dunn, left, and President DiPietro. They seem to be getting along.
Norman Majors, left, and Arthur Seymour
Barbara and Bud Sherrod
Carolyn and Mike Moss
Sandra and Monroe Trout
Eleesa and Jerry Epps
From left, Mary Jinks, Margaret Dye and Katie Reagan
Jerry and Ann Bodie
From left, Vince Anfara, Katie High and Jim Roberto
Linden and Betty Gill
Joe and Sharon Pryse
Maestro Lucas Richman and Rachel Ford
Pat and former UT President Joe Johnson
Tom and Deanene Catani
John Gill and Margie Nichols
Bill Lyons and City Councilman Joe Bailey
From left, Joan Creasia, Margaret Dye, Ann and Dean Skadberg
Nancy and Leonard Hines
I think this is more photos than I’ve ever put on a blog post. But if you’d like to see still more, click here to go to the Moxley Carmichael Flickr page.
Photo credit: Gary Heatherly, shooting for Moxley Carmichael, took all these pictures except the two blurry ones (Roddys, Jensens and Martins; and Goodwin, Varlan and Anderson), which I took.