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Chancellor’s Professors Emeriti

Jeff Becker

Jeffrey M. Becker is the Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus and head of the Department of Microbiology. Becker trained more than thirty doctoral students who hold faculty or staff positions at many major institutions, published more than 240 peer-reviewed articles, and was awarded grants for research from many national agencies. He holds a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant in the thirty-third year of continuous funding, and has received a Research Career Development Award from NIH. Becker is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He serves on the NIH Drug Discovery and Mechanisms of Antimicrobial Resistance Study Section, on the editorial board of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, and as associate editor of the journal Microbiology. Becker has been a consultant to the pharmaceutical companies Eli Lilly, Merck, and Smith-Kline Beckman.

Joy T. DeSensi


Joy T. DeSensi was Chancellor’s Professor Emerita of exercise, sport, and leisure studies in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences, and associate dean of the Graduate School. She was passionate about the sociocultural issues of sport and all aspects of diversity and ethics in sport management. A prolific researcher, she co-authored the book Ethics and Morality in Sport Management. She served as president of the International Association for the Philosophy of Sport; the National Association for Kinesiology and Physical Education in Higher Education; and the Southern Academy of Women in Physical Activity, Sport, and Health; and is a founding member of the North American Society for Sport Management.

Dr. DeSensi passed away April 1, 2017, after a courageous battle with cancer. She was 71. A tribute to her and her many contributions to UT appears in Tennessee Today.

Charles Glisson

Charles Glisson, Distinguished Professor of Social Work and Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus, found ways to cut through red tape so that social and mental health services could be delivered to troubled children. As director of the Children’s Mental Health Services Center, he designed Edit Sitepractical steps that improved child welfare, juvenile justice, and mental health. He served as principal investigator on multiple major research projects concerned with children’s services funded by the National Institutes of Health and has served on the editorial boards of numerous professional journals. He was also a member of the National Institute of Mental Health Services Research scientific review group.

Rosalind I. J. Hackett

Rosalind I. J. Hackett is a Distinguished Professor in the Humanities and professor of religious studies in the College of Arts and Sciences. She has held fellowships at Harvard University as well as the University of Notre Dame, the University of Cape Town, and the University of Groningen. Her most recent books are New Media and Religious Transformations in Africa (2015) and The Anthropology of Global Pentecostalism and Evangelicalism (2015), both of which she co-edited. She is past president and honorary life member of the International Association for the History of Religions and vice president of the International Council on Philosophy and Human Sciences.

Harry “Hap” McSween

Harry “Hap” McSween, Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus, retired as head of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences in 2016. He studied meteorites and what they tell us about the formation and evolution of the solar system. He worked with NASA on missions including the Mars Pathfinder program, the Mars Global Surveyor orbiter, the Mars Odyssey spacecraft, and the Mars Exploration Rovers. He served as a member of several advisory committees at the space agency, as well as at the National Research Council. He is a Leonard Medal winner from the Meteoritical Society and a fellow of both the American Geophysical Union and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. A highly respected member of the UT faculty for more than thirty years, he is especially proud to be the namesake for asteroid 5223, “McSween.”

John T. Mentzer


John T. “Tom” Mentzer, former professor of marketing and logistics in the College of Business Administration and Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus, was the Harry J. and Vivienne R. Bruce Chair of Excellence in Business in the Department of Marketing and Logistics until his death in 2010. Nationally recognized for his teaching, cutting edge research, and extensive publishing in the field of logistics and marketing, he also authored 190 papers and articles. The Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science and Journal of Business Logistics both honored him for his prolific writing. He also served as a consultant to more than 100 corporations and government agencies.

Professor Mentzer passed away on February 26, 2010. A tribute to Mentzer and his many contributions to UT appears in Tennessee Today.

Susan Riechert

Susan Riechert is a Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences. At UT since 1973, Susan has done work on game theory that was pivotal in the field, and her research—consistently funded by the National Science Foundation—has produced more than 100 chapters and articles in top journals. Committed to preparing future generations of science teachers, Riechert created a groundbreaking outreach program, Biology in a Box, which is now used in 108 school systems in Tennessee and neighboring states. She also developed VolsTeach, which provides a STEM teaching minor to science, math, and engineering majors. Finally, she has served as an outstanding role model for women in biology and other sciences.

Soren Sorensen

Soren Sorensen is a professor of physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences. At UT since 1985, Soren excels as an advisor for graduate students and was honored as Teacher of the Year in 2008 and 2013 by the Society of Physics Students. Soren is also the chair of STRIDE (Strategies and Tactics for Recruiting to Improve Diversity and Excellence) and is passionate about educating the campus community on bias and diversity. He is a successful researcher who has produced more than 270 referreed papers that have been cited more than 15,500 times. Soren also plays an integral role at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, which recognizes UT as a top research institute and provides research opportunities for our students and postdocs.

Carol Tenopir

Carol Tenopir, professor of information sciences in the College of Communication and Information, studies the ways the digital age affects how we retrieve and process information. She is director of the Center for Information and Communication Studies and director of research for the College of Communication and Information. A highly productive teacher and researcher, she has published and taught extensively about the impact of technology on reference librarians and scientists. She is the recipient of the 2004 International Information Industry Lifetime Achievement Award. Additionally, she has won the 2009 Award of Merit from the American Society for Information Science and Technology, the ASIST 2002 Research Award, the 2000 ALISE Award for Teaching Excellence, and the 1993 Outstanding Information Science Teacher Award.

Lawrence Townsend

Lawrence Townsend, Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus, retired as the Robert M. Condra Professor of Nuclear Engineering. Townsend’s work in space radiation protection and transport codes has been used by NASA’s Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation (CRaTER) project team, part of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft, and by the NASA Space Radiation Analysis Group. Townsend was a senior scientist and radiation expert at NASA before coming to UT, spending fifteen years as part of the space radiation protection research group at NASA Langley Research Center. He was elected fellow of the American Nuclear Society in 2005 and is a five-time faculty of the year winner in the Department of Nuclear Engineering.