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Retiring Caruthers Cites Gains, Potential in Farewell Message to Institute’s Family

John E. Caruthers, in a farewell message to students, faculty and staff, cited positive reasons for believing the future is bright for The University of Tennessee Space Institute.

“I leave you with UTSI now having the support of the UT President, the Board of Trustees, the Tennessee Legislature, the Governor, and our Federal representatives,” the retiring UTSI leader wrote in an electronic message.

“You also have the strongest Support Council in my memory,” the former professor, UT associate vice president, and chief operating officer of the Space Institute added.

“This year’s research contract and grant awards and student population are up,” Caruthers continued, “meeting or exceeding the growth rate goals set in the President’s plan established more than a year ago.”

Caruthers joined UTSI’s faculty April 1, 1978 and later became the first Jack D. Whitfield Professor of High Speed Flows and then the third Space Institute faculty member to be chosen as the B.H. Goethert Professor. He had served in his current leadership position since April 2001. He and his wife, the former Susan Norred, plan to move from Tullahoma to Lafayette, Ala.

In his letter, Caruthers congratulated his fellows at UTSI for their “courage and professionalism in enduring the difficult times of the previous six years.” He added that “Those days are now behind us. I wish you all the very best for the future as you begin to take our special institution to a new and unprecedented prominence under the able leadership of Don Daniel.”

Caruthers noted that “detailed planning” for hiring new professors and research scientists with as many as ten searches for seven tenure track and three research professor positions.

“We will also search for several more staff scientists and expect to add many more as success accumulates from these investments and investments of the recent past,” Caruthers said.

“Partly because of some streamlining we did in earlier years, and sound financial management led by George Jensen,” he continued, “we have most of the necessary resources for new investment. We already have in place the leadership we need in Aviation Systems (Stephen Corda), Engineering Management (Gregory Sedrick), photonic and carbon based materials research (Bill Hofmeister and Ahmad Vakili), and with the addition of Daniel, the leadership for a strong and successful propulsion research team. The next several years should prove to be very exciting ones for the Institute.”

Declaring that he will “miss my friends and colleagues at UTSI, UT, and in the community,” Caruthers said, “I am proud and privileged to have served and led the Institute that Goethert (the first dean and director of UTSI) built.”