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James Simonton Appointed UTSI Interim Director

Dear colleagues,

As you may know, Mark Whorton has decided to step down as executive director of the UT Space Institute to pursue another opportunity. I want to thank Mark for his service and leadership. We all wish him the best in his new pursuits.

I have appointed James Simonton interim executive director beginning June 20. I look forward to working with him and the faculty and staff at UTSI in continuing to grow the impact of this important institute. We will conduct a search for a permanent director beginning in the fall, and Dr. Simonton will remain in the position until an appointment is made.

Dr. Simonton has been associate executive director for academics at the institute since 2015 and served as its interim executive director once before, from 2015 to 2016. He first joined the university as an associate professor of industrial and systems engineering in 2012. I greatly appreciate his willingness to step forward during this transition.

The UT Space Institute remains an important part of the University of Tennessee, our commitment to innovation, and our land-grant mission to serve the people of our state. Thank you for all that each of you are doing to further these goals. I will continue to keep you updated as we launch the search for the institute’s next leader.

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Donde Plowman
Chancellor