This story was updated April 9, 2018, at 11:59 p.m.

NASHVILLE — After quietly signing his University of Tennessee system board of trustees overhaul legislation Friday, Gov. Bill Haslam on Monday announced his 10 nominations to the smaller governing body.

Among others, the Republican governor nominated John Compton, a former CEO of the Haslam family-owned Pilot Flying J travel center plaza chain.

Haslam bounced most current members from the board, including former Chattanooga-based BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee President Vicky Gregg, who represented the 3rd congressional district, and John Foy, a Democrat and former vice chairman of Chattanooga-based CBL & Associates Properties Inc., who represented Hamilton County.

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam

He nominated Chattanoogan Kim White, president and chief executive officer of the River City Co., to serve on the revamped board that goes from 27 members to just 11 voting trustees and a nonvoting student trustee.

Haslam is keeping only four current members.

One is longtime Knoxville friend and supporter Raja Jubran, chief executive officer of Denark Construction, who is current chairman of the UT Board of Trustees. Another is Brad Lampley, a former UT football player and now a registered lobbyist and partner in charge of the law firm Adams and Reese LLP's Nashville operations.

The third current trustee being kept is Trustee Sharon Bryse, a fellow Knoxvillian and businesswoman. The fourth is Bill Evans of Memphis, a retired CEO of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Besides White and Compton, other new appointees are:

» Kara Lawson, former Lady Vol and current basketball television analyst for ESPN and the Washington Wizards;

» Donnie Smith, former president and chief executive officer of Tyson Foods;

» Bill Rhodes, chairman, president and chief executive officer of AutoZone;

» Melvin Malone, former special Tennessee Supreme Court Justice and current practice group leader with Butler Snow LLP.


Haslam's law removes himself, two state commissioners and the executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. The law also eliminates specific appointments to represent each of the state's nine congressional districts as well as additional trustees where the University of Tennessee has a campus, including Chattanooga.

Among those no longer on the board is Rhedona Rose, the 4th congressional district representative and the executive vice president of the powerful Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation. The UT system's Institute of Agriculture delivers educational programs and research-based information to farmers in all 95 of the state's counties.

Also gone is the only former state legislator on the UT board, retired state Rep. David Shepard, a Democrat.

Haslam named his legislation the University of Tennessee Focus Act, saying it was intended to modernize the focus and responsibilities of the UT Board of Trustees.

But critics, including several former UT national alumni presidents and current and past student trustees, have questioned what long-term consequences will come from the governor's legislation.

To answer some criticism, Haslam included in the bill "advisory boards" for each of the four primary UT campuses: The University of Tennessee at Knoxville; The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga; The University of Tennessee at Martin and The University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

That, Haslam said, allows each campus to have a local focus. But the local boards are strictly advisory. The "Big Board," that is the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees, doesn't have to follow the recommendations of the advisory panels, which are tasked to work with campus chancellors on issues ranging from budget proposals to tuition and fees.

Contact staff writer Andy Sher at or 615-255-0550. Follow him on Twitter @AndySher1.