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The passing of President Emeritus Joe Johnson



It is with a heavy heart that I share the news of the passing of a beloved member of our UT System family, President Emeritus Joe Johnson. Dr. Johnson’s significant contributions and lifelong commitment to our university will forever leave an indelible mark on our institution.

Dr. Johnson served as president of the University of Tennessee System from 1990 to 1999, then returned to serve as interim president from 2003 to 2004. After retiring as president, Johnson, as president emeritus, continued his service to the University by building and maintaining critical relationships. Throughout his tenure and beyond, he exhibited unwavering dedication to advancing the cause of higher education, pushing the boundaries of innovation and fostering an environment of excellence.

His visionary leadership has shaped the path we tread today, and his legacy continues to resonate throughout our campuses, institutes and the entire UT community across our great state and around the world. Dr. Johnson’s passion for education was contagious, and his impact on our university system is immeasurable.

Further details regarding Dr. Johnson’s celebration of life will be shared soon.  Until that time, more information on his life and legacy can be found here.

During this time of reflection, let us remember Dr. Johnson’s enduring commitment to our institution and its mission. His legacy will live on in the work we do every day to advance education, research and service to the state of Tennessee and beyond.

Please keep Dr. Johnson’s family and loved ones in your thoughts and prayers as they navigate this difficult time.

Randy Boyd signature
Randy Boyd
President, University of Tennessee System