UTC Chancellor Roger Brown to retire

UTC Chancellor Roger Brown to retire

June 9th, 2012 by Kate Belz in News

Roger Brown of UTC

Roger Brown of UTC

Photo by Patrick Smith /Times Free Press.


UTC enrollment has increased nearly 20 percent in six years. In fall 2011, enrollment had reached 11,438 students.

More than $100 million in construction and capital improvements have been made, including a $48 million library scheduled to open in 2013.

External grant funding climbed to $12.2 million in 2011.

A seven-year comprehensive fundraising campaign has brought in $81.2 million.

Source: UTC

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Chancellor Roger Brown believes in knowing when the time is right to make changes.

And Friday, Brown decided the time was right to announce his retirement from his six-year position at the school.

"It's bittersweet," said Brown, who is expecting to leave UTC by March 2013. "I have so loved working at UTC. But I just know it's time."

Brown, 64, said Friday that he and his late wife, Dr. Carolyn Thompson, had been discussing retirement for several years and agreed 2013 seemed the right time.

That was before Thompson was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer and before her death in March -- making 2012 a "tremendously difficult year," Brown wrote in a Friday email to UTC students.

"Frankly, it is not as much fun at the university without her," Brown explained. "Most people who knew her well know that she was such an integral part of my administration here."

As chancellor, Brown has acted as the campus's top administrator. He oversees UTC's financial standing, is integral in fundraising efforts, is the school's key ambassador for government and community relations and is the main liaison to the University of Tennessee system.

Brown's colleagues said he was able to bring a unique sense of fellowship to the executive team of directors, and that he wasted no time getting rooted in Chattanooga.

"He wanted the school to engage with the community, and he and Carolyn personally set that example with their involvement in boards and organizations across town," said Bob Lyon, vice chancellor for institutional advancement. "They set the tone for us in the university."

The search to find the next chancellor will start immediately, UT System President Joe DiPietro said in a statement.

UTC spokesman Chuck Cantrell said the process typically starts in Knoxville. The UT system president will appoint a search committee from UTC faculty, staff, students, alumni, trustees and community members.

The committee will formulate a job description and will likely work with a headhunting firm to help identify strong candidates, Cantrell said. The committee will make recommendations, but the decision is up to the UT system president, he said.

Brown, who has been in education for 30 years, came to UTC in 2006 after spending about 15 years with the University of North Carolina system.

Brown said he is most proud of the steep growth curve during his tenure. The school has grown by about 2,000 students, with enrollment reaching 11,400 last fall.

Brown said he is working on a list of goals he'd like to see achieved before he departs, including the completion of the university's new library and the development of an expanded honors college at the university.

"He's not the type of person who's just going to sit back," Lyon said. "He'll stay busy."

Brown said he plans to stay in Chattanooga when he retires, remaining an advocate for the university and possibly teaching. Students have always brought him the greatest joy, he said.

"What my wife and I enjoyed most was attending student presentations or having a student group up to the house," he said. "We loved the energy and the forward-thinking of those students.

"The cliché is that working with students helps keep one young. I believe that's true."