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Randy L. Farmer Appointed Vice Chancellor for Development and Alumni Affairs at UTHSC


Steve J. Schwab, MD, chancellor for the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), and Johnnie D. Ray, president, University of Tennessee Foundation, have appointed Randy L. Farmer, EdD, as vice chancellor for Development and Alumni Affairs at UTHSC.  In his new position, Dr. Farmer will report directly to the chancellor and supervise a 19-person team. Formerly the vice president for Development at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dr. Farmer’s appointment becomes effective in June.As chief development officer at UTHSC, Dr. Farmer will provide the leadership and coordination for all private fundraising.  He will supply direction and staffing for development and alumni activities in coordination with the deans of all six colleges and in collaboration with the UTHSC senior leadership team.  The UT Foundation works closely with the University of Tennessee president and the chancellor for each campus to identify strategic private support priorities, create fundraising strategies and tactics, and implement development programs.

“Randy will be a dynamic leader for our UTHSC development and alumni efforts and a great fit with both UTHSC and the Memphis community,” said Ray, who also serves as vice president, Alumni Affairs for the University of Tennessee System. “He is a consummate development professional with an extensive background in health science fundraising.”

While the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs is located on the main UTHSC campus in Memphis, the vice chancellor will also undertake and support development and alumni initiatives in Chattanooga and Knoxville.  He will set development goals and objectives, oversee alumni outreach and giving programs, and foster close relationships with the UT System development operation.

“Dr. Farmer’s extensive experience with every aspect of development and proven leadership skills demonstrate his value to our institution,” stated Chancellor Schwab.  “We are pleased to welcome him to our team and we look forward to the insights, innovations and new energy he will bring to our Development and Alumni Affairs office.”

Several well-qualified candidates were identified for this senior-level position at UTHSC through a national search.  Timothy Hottel, DDS, MS, MBA, dean for the UTHSC College of Dentistry, led the 10-person search committee with the support of an executive search firm.  “Dr. Hottel and the committee have the university’s thanks for their diligence in identifying outstanding candidates for this pivotal position,” Chancellor Schwab stated.  “The university also wishes to acknowledge and thank Bethany Goolsby Blankenship for the many contributions she has made as interim leader of Development and Alumni Affairs during the search process and this transition period.”

Since 2010, Dr. Farmer has led the Development office for the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.  Previously, he was executive associate vice chancellor for Medical Development and Alumni Relations at Vanderbilt University for three years.  From 1988 to 2006, he was with Washington University in St. Louis where he served in roles that increased his levels of responsibility, broadened his development experience, and expanded his management skills.  He spent 14 years supporting and leading Medical Alumni and Development Programs, nine years as associate vice chancellor and director, and five years as assistant vice chancellor and director.  While at Washington University, he also worked for four years in Corporate and Foundation Relations, for one year as an assistant director followed by three years as director.

From 1981 to 1988, Dr. Farmer worked in such fields as investment and insurance services as well as higher education – both in didactic and administrative roles for organizations that included Northwestern Mutual Life, the University of Pittsburgh and Illinois Wesleyan University.

He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Southeast Missouri State University, a Master of Arts degree from Ball State University, and a Doctorate in Higher Education degree from Indiana University.  In addition, through a Lilly Endowment, Dr. Farmer completed a postdoctoral internship focusing on statewide coordination of higher education at the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.  A native of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, he has a 28-year-old son living in Los Angeles.

The University of Tennessee Foundation, Inc. (UTFI) is an independent not-for-profit created in 2001 to support the University of Tennessee’s educational, research and public activities.  As the preferred channel for all private contributions that benefit students and faculty at the University of Tennessee, UT Foundation staff members work with alumni and other prospective donors to secure funds for scholarships, professorships, research, outreach programs and other university initiatives.  For more information about the UT Foundation, visit www.utfi.org.