We asked Chancellor Plowman a few questions, including:
- Who has influenced you the most?
- Why is higher education important?
- What does the Volunteer Spirit mean to you?
- What did you notice about campus?
- What excites you about this job?
In my free time Iike to play the piano, I’m a big reader also. I’m an early riser. I get up at 4 in the morning. Love that morning routine before anyone else is up. In the mornings I’m reading something all the time.
Who has influenced you the most?
I’ve been influenced probably mostly by my dad who was a leader in his world. He was a preacher. He could speak honestly about a difficult topic and no one is offended. You are very forthright but you do it in a way that always communicates how much you care about the person. My dad was really good at that so I continue to try to emulate him in that way. I’ve got a lot to learn still.
Why is higher education important?
I’ve spent my entire career in public higher education. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I think education levels the playing field for people and life. The land grant in particular, we want to educate as many students as we can. When we educate students we contribute to the economic development of the state.
What does the Volunteer Spirit mean to you?
There’s something special and unique about Volunteers. They make a commitment to something bigger than themselves and I think there’s so much power in that. Tennessee has such a rich history around that spirit around the idea of stepping forth and saying, “I’ll go.” I love that.
What did you notice about campus?
My overwhelming observation when I came back was all of the buildings. The physical transformation of the campus. I’d been gone 9 years. I was stunned. It’s so beautiful.
What excites you about this job?
It’s such a great moment in time in Tennessee. Like, so many good things have happened here and I think there’s a real opportunity for the university to move to the next level like it wants to do. And I’m just… I’m excited about helping make that happen.
That just makes me get up even earlier in the morning.