Office of the President

Dr. John D. Petersen

Dr. John D. Petersen has guided the University of Tennessee through a period of remarkable progress that has not only enhanced the university’s reputation but also its value to the state of Tennessee.

Notable developments since he became president of the statewide UT system July 1, 2004 include:

  • Launch of a $1 billion fund raising campaign, with more than $700 million already in hand.
  • Expansion of the UT-Oak Ridge partnership, including more joint institutes and increased research collaborations.
  • Receipt of the university’s largest-ever research grant, a $65 million award that will allow UT to build the world’s fastest unclassified supercomputer.
  • Birth of a new “innovation campus” at Knoxville.
  • Development of a statewide $70 million Biofuels Initiative to produce alternative fuels, create jobs, and stimulate economic development in rural counties.
  • Receipt of record state appropriations for buildings throughout UT’s statewide campus.

As UT’s 23rd president, Dr. Petersen is the chief executive officer of a statewide university system that includes the flagship campus in Knoxville, campuses in Chattanooga and Martin, the Health Science Center in Memphis, the Space Institute in Tullahoma, and statewide institutes of agriculture and public service.

He is chairman of the UT-Battelle Board of Governors, a member of the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees, and a director and executive committee member of the Council for Chemical Research.

Before coming to UT, he was University of Connecticut chancellor and provost for university affairs and professor of chemistry (2000-2004). At Wayne State University from 1994 to 2000, he was dean of the College of Science and professor of chemistry. From 1980 to 1993 at Clemson University, he was assistant, associate, and full professor of chemistry, associate dean for research in the College of Sciences, and head of the chemistry department.

In 1986-87, he was the Alexander von Humboldt research fellow and guest professor at Universitat Regensburg in Germany. He is a member of the Thomas Green Clemson Academy of Engineers and Scientists at Clemson University.

Dr. Petersen holds the B.S. degree in chemistry from California State University in Los Angeles (1970) and the Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara (1975). He was born November 21, 1947, in Los Angeles. He and his wife, Carol, live in Knoxville. They are the parents of two grown children, Melissa and Andrew.

April 2008 

Dr. John D. Petersen 

Dr. John D. Petersen

To download a hi-rez photo, right click on the link below and select your download location
Download hi-rez photo