New Members Named to UT Board of Trustees

Press Release from Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, June 22, 2011:

Appointments Effective July 1

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced the appointment of J. Brian Ferguson and Tommy G. Whittaker to the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees.

Haslam also appointed Dr. Janet Mary Rasmussen-Wilbert, Ed.D., as a non-voting faculty trustee and Teresa K. Fowler as a non-voting student trustee and reappointed Spruell Driver, Jr.

Ferguson is a director of Owens Corning and the American Chemistry Council. He joined Eastman in 1977 and after years of service at the global chemical company, Ferguson was promoted to president of the group headquartered in Northeast Tennessee. He has since retired as Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Eastman. He served as director of NextEra Energy since 2005.

Whittaker is the President and Chief Executive Officer of First Farmers Bancshares in Portland, Tenn. Whittaker serves on the First Farmers Bancshares, Inc. Board of Directors, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation Board of Directors, Portland Community Education Foundation Board of Trustees, Portland Housing Board of Commissioners, Tennessee Bankers Association Board of Directors, Tennessee Bankers Association Government Relations Committee and American Bankers Association Grassroots Committee.

Driver, graduated from UT-Knoxville in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and graduated from Duke Law School in 1991. The Tennessee attorney has served on the UT Board of Trustees previously and served as president of the UT National Alumni Association from 2004 until 2005. Driver has also served on the UT College of Engineering Board of Advisers and as the director of the Judicial Education and Program Services Division of the Administrative Office of the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Dr. Wilbert is professor of health and human performance and athletic training coordinator at the University of Tennessee at Martin. Wilbert also serves as faculty senate president at UT Martin and previously served as chair and co-chair of the Tennessee Athletic Trainers’ Society (TATS). Dr. Wilbert joined UT Martin in 2000 to start the athletic training program.

Fowler graduated from Camden Central High School in 2009 and is currently a sophomore at the University of Tennessee at Martin. The nursing student was appointed Student Government Association Attorney General for 2010-2011 and elected Student Government Association Student Court Justice. Fowler is University Scholars Vice President and has served as University Scholars Community Service Chair. Fowler is also a member of the National Honor Society at UTM, National Association of Student Nurses and serves as Volunteer Girls State Senior Counselor.

“Higher education is a critical component in creating a high quality workforce in Tennessee,” Haslam said. “In today’s economic climate, we are asking higher education to do more with less and we believe with the right team it is possible to be innovative, creative and proactive in our commitment to increase the number of Tennesseans with a college degree.”

The 26-member UT Board of Trustees is the governing body of the University, overseeing the educational and operational activities of the statewide University System. The governor serves as an ex officio voting member of the board and, by election, as chair.