Donald C. Daniel told about 200 well-wishers Thursday night that The University of Tennessee Space Institute has “important research to do – not just for Tennessee but also to benefit the United States of America.”
UTSI’s new leader said his vision of the Institute will be “a little bigger and broader – I think of the Space Institute as The University of Tennessee’s flagship in Middle Tennessee. Donna and I not only have come back to Tullahoma; we have come home,” he said, and his wife echoed his sentiments, saying, “It is good to be home again.” They lived in Tullahoma when Daniel was chief scientist at Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC).
UT Executive Vice President Jack Britt promised “a bright future” for the Space Institute “that will make you proud.”
Support Council members and a host of area community leaders and UTSI staffers, faculty, and students attended a reception “on the hill” at Jack Daniel’s Distillery honoring Daniel as the new UT associate vice president and UTSI’s chief operating officer. He succeeds John E. Caruthers, who is retiring June 30. Jack Daniel’s and the UT System funded the affair at which Dick Farrar of Fayetteville, chairman of UTSI’s Support Council, presided.
Britt told the crowd that a new “strategic plan” for UT, recently presented to trustees, has “special relevance to UTSI.” The plan emphasizes student access and success, research and economic development and transfer of technology to industry, and outreach and globalization.
“We want to recruit from all over the world,” Britt said, “and to work with every county in the state to help economic development.”
Noting the presence of Mary Lou Apple, new president of Motlow State Community College, and her husband Jim, Britt said, “We have been talking about how to partner with Motlow – particularly with regard to the governor’s plan to open a high school on the Space Institute’s campus.” (Gov. Bredesen’s plans call for a school to draw exceptional math and science students from all around the state and to house them at UTSI.)
Also present from UT was Dan Stewart, special assistant to Britt, with whom Daniel has worked in the past.
“We are excited over UTSI’s revitalization plan,” Daniel said. He noted that UT and state legislators are supporting an opportunity to expand the Institute’s faculty and to increase research opportunities.
Inviting non-members to join the Support Council, Farrar said his view of the Council is similar to his idea of athletic booster clubs.
“With the clubs, I say, ‘Let the coaches coach, the students play, and you and I support them.’ With our Support Council, I say, ‘Let the administrators administer, the professors teach, and let us support them.’”