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UTHSC Honors UT System President Joe DiPietro with Farewell Reception

Dr. Joe DiPietro and his wife, Deb, watch a presentation during his farewell reception. (Photo by Natalie Brewer/UTHSC)

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center celebrated UT President Joe DiPietro, DVM, for his leadership and service of more than eight years with the UT System with a farewell reception in his honor. The UTHSC campus was the first stop on Dr. DiPietro’s farewell tour.

More than 100 faculty and staff on campus attended the reception, which was held in the Student-Alumni Center and included a continental breakfast.

“I can say that the DiPietro administration has been the fairest, most equitable, most progressive, and the best for the University of Tennessee Health Science Center of all the administrations in the past,” said UTHSC Chancellor Steve Schwab, MD.

UTHSC faculty sign UTHSC’s centennial book with well wishes for the president. (Photo by Natalie Brewer/UTHSC)

The farewell tribute opened with a choreographed dance routine performed by UTHSC staff, followed by a video presentation with photos from past events, including the annual UT Tribute, which included UTHSC faculty and staff saying thank you to Dr. DiPietro for his years of service. A plaque and campus photo were presented to Dr. DiPietro as a thank you souvenir on behalf of the campus. Attendees also signed UTHSC’s centennial book with well wishes for the president.

“I’m a health professional, I just happen to work on four-legged creatures,” said Dr. DiPietro, who worked as a veterinarian for decades prior to university administration. “I had experience working at a health science center in Florida that helped me galvanize what I thought we could do here. We did make big investments in Memphis and I think it’s very important to the University of Tennessee System and I’ve told my successor that and I know he will seriously consider that and will carry on the tradition that we’ve started.”

UTHSC staff speak with Dr. DiPietro during his farewell reception held in the Student-Alumni Center. (Photo by Natalie Brewer/UTHSC)

Dr. DiPietro thanked the campus for its hard work in helping achieve system-wide records, including record research dollars, enrollment growth, improved retention, increased graduation rates, and growth in fundraising dollars. “The most important thing I need to thank you for is your day-in and day-out hard work for the institution that makes you show up every day to educate, discover, and connect with people here on campus as well as across the state,” he said.

“You’ll always have a place to call home here with us at the UT Health Science Center,” said Ken Brown, JD, MPA, PhD, FACHE, UTHSC’s executive vice chancellor and chief operations officer. “You’ve done a lot for us. Retrospectively, once you look back, where we are now, where we go in the future, and keep your finger on the pulse of what we do, you put us on a course that will lead this institution here in Memphis to a place we never envisioned it would be.”

Dr. DiPietro, UT’s 25th president, announced in September that he will retire from UT February 14, 2019, and will remain in active service until November 21. He has served as president of the UT System since January 2011, and will be honored as president emeritus once he retires.