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Baker Center Director Matt Murray to Retire

Dear colleagues,

Matt Murray, director of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, has informed me of his decision to retire on July 31.

Since Dr. Murray took over as director in 2012, he has transformed the center by shaping its role as a source for nonpartisan data-driven policy analysis and expertise in Tennessee. Under his leadership, the center narrowed its programming focus to leadership and governance, energy and environment, and global security, including hiring jointly appointed faculty and establishing a fellows program to create research capacity and expertise in those areas.

Dr. Murray also helped the center gain solid financial footing by securing grant funding and growing the center’s endowment. This allowed the center to establish new programs such as the Legislative Leaders Academy, a joint program with the UT Institute for Public Service that helps prepare newly elected members of the Tennessee General Assembly, and the Washington Program, a two-week intensive course for students conducted in Washington, DC.

Dr. Murray also helped the center establish a minor in public policy analytics, host its first US Senate candidate debate in 2018, and create the CORE 19 initiative to respond to a statewide need to understand the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I hope you will join me in congratulating Dr. Murray on his retirement and his stellar career. We will miss his leadership.

An internal search for his successor will begin immediately with the hope of having new director when Dr. Murray steps down. The search committee will be chaired by Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Engagement Tyvi Small. Other committee members are:

  • Stephanie Bohon, professor and head of the Department of Sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences
  • Katie Cahill, associate director of the Baker Center, director of the center’s Leadership and Governance Program, and adjunct professor of political science
  • Macel Ely, director of the Naifeh Center for Effective Leadership at the UT Institute for Public Service and fellow of the Baker Center’s Leadership and Governance Program
  • Anne Smith, King and Judy Rogers Professor in Business and head of the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship in the Haslam College of Business
  • John Stier, professor and associate dean for academic programs in the Herbert College of Agriculture
  • John Tolsma, Baker Center board member and founder and CEO of Knowledge Launch

I look forward to working with the committee and appreciate their willingness to serve.

Thank you,

Donde Plowman
Chancellor