Following a regularly scheduled meeting with President John Petersen to discuss ongoing problems in communication between the UT system and the Knoxville campus, Chancellor Loren Crabtree abruptly resigned on January 3, 2008.
UT issued a press release in which President Petersen said that the two had “arrived at a joint decision” and announced Crabtree’s resignation effective immediately. “We share common goals for the university and for the Knoxville campus, but we have some differing philosophies in the area of governance,” the press release said. “We agree it is time to put those differences aside in the interest of best enabling the university to continue to take advantage of unprecedented opportunities and success in key research and academic areas,” the release continued. Dr. Jan Simek, who had been serving as Crabtree’s chief of staff was appointed interim chancellor.
On January 17 the Faculty Senate held a farewell reception for Crabtree, which was attended by more than five hundred people.
On January 22, the Daily Beacon published a letter from Crabtree to the university community, which said:
I am writing to thank the members of the campus community who have sent me their greetings upon my resignation as chancellor of the Knoxville campus. My wife, Monica, and I will treasure your kind, generous comments forever.
It has been an extraordinary privilege and pleasure to serve as your chancellor. The students, faculty, and staff of this flagship university are truly exceptional and I am proud to have been your colleague.
Thank you for the opportunity to work with you during the past seven years.
Rest assured that Rocky Top will always energize me, and whenever I hear the “Tennessee Waltz,” I will recall each of you—and UTK—with nostalgia and fondness. And so we move on. In the words of Mark Twain, “Twenty Years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail way from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Farewell and Godspeed.