Haslam Announces Higher Education Initiative

Corporate leader & UT Alumnus to spearhead effort in coordination with state leadership

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced that Randy Boyd will join his administration as special advisor to the governor for Higher Education to focus on affordability, access and quality of state programs.

Boyd will consult with a formal working group appointed by Haslam made up of the governor, executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC), chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), and president of the University of Tennessee.  Although Boyd’s position will be full-time, he will be working for the state on a voluntary, unpaid basis.

“Over the past six months, I’ve spent a lot of time learning from experts in our state and across the country about the challenges we face in higher education,” Haslam said.  “Only 32 percent of our state’s adult population has a post-secondary degree, but if we are going to a have a workforce that’s job-ready, we need to be at 55 percent by 2025.  The conversation needs to be about K to J with the ‘J’ meaning jobs.

“It is clear to me that unlike K-12 education where there is general consensus about how to improve education. That isn’t the case when it comes to tackling the ‘iron triangle’ of affordability, access and quality in post-secondary education. I am grateful that Randy has agreed to join our team to head up this crucial effort.  He will bring a business, workforce alignment perspective and a demonstrated passion for improving access to higher education to this issue. I believe it says a lot about the importance of this issue to the future of our state when someone of Randy’s caliber is willing to come from the private sector and serve in this way.”

In 2009, Boyd helped start tnAchieves, a non-profit organization that has sent over 3,200 high school graduates to community college free of charge with mentors. Of those students, 68 percent are the first in their families to attend college, and more than 65 percent have family incomes below $50,000.  The organization serves 26 counties providing universal college access to those high school graduates.

“I am passionate about improving educational opportunity for all our citizens,” Boyd said.  “To achieve the governor’s mission, we will need to broaden the net and to provide greater access.  I’m excited about this opportunity because Gov. Haslam is determined to make a material impact.  I believe our state has a rare opportunity, and I am honored to be able to assist.”

Boyd, 53, is chairman of Radio Systems Corporation, which he started in 1991.  Radio Systems is headquartered in Knoxville and has more than 600 associates worldwide with offices in seven countries. The company produces over 4,000 technology-based pet products under brand names such as Invisible Fence, PetSafe, SportDOG, and Premier. It is a private company with sales over $300 million.

Boyd received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee in industrial management in 1979 and a master’s in liberal studies from Oklahoma University in 1988.

Boyd also currently serves on the board of a number of organizations including the University of Tennessee College of Business Dean’s Advisory Council, the University of Tennessee Alumni Association, and Knox County’s Great Schools Partnership.  He also established the PetSafe Chair of Companion Animal Behavior within the Small Animal Clinical Sciences department of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Tennessee.

He has received several awards including Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year for the Southeast in 2008, Tennessee Business Magazine’s CEO of the Year in 2009, UT’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2009, and was inducted into Junior Achievement’s East Tennessee Hall of Fame in 2008.

He and his wife, Jenny, have two sons.  Boyd begins his role in Nashville today, January 15.


Early Voting Begins October 17

Early voting begins on Wednesday, October 17 in Tennessee and will continue until Thursday, November 1.  Utilized by many for its convenience, early voting allows voters to select any early voting location operated by their local election commission office (you are not bound to the precinct listed on your voter registration card).

As of January 1, 2012, casting your ballot now requires the use of photo identification.  Please see the information below on which forms of identification are accepted at the polls.

From the Tennessee Department of State:

What IDs are acceptable?

Any of the following IDs may be used, even if expired:

  • Tennessee drivers license with your photo
  • United States Passport
  • Photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security
  • Photo ID issued by the federal or any state government
  • United States Military photo ID
  • State-issued handgun carry permit with your photo
What IDs are not acceptable?

College student IDs and photo IDs not issued by the federal or a state government are NOT acceptable.

Who is exempt?
  • Voters who vote absentee by mail (view requirements here)
  • Voters who are residents of a licensed nursing home or assisted living center and who vote at the facility
  • Voters who are hospitalized
  • Voters with a religious objection to being photographed
  • Voters who are indigent and unable to obtain a photo ID without paying a fee
What if I registered by mail and am voting in my first election?

Federal law requires first time voters who register by mail to present one of the following:

  • A current photo identification with voter’s name and photo OR
  • If the photo identification is expired, the voter must also present one of the following: a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that shows the voter’s name and address.

Do you care about higher education issues facing the state?  Learn what state legislative candidates had to say about the issues before heading to the polls. Be an informed voter and view our candidate survey before you cast your ballot.

House Speaker Beth Harwell, Rep. Mark White Visit UTHSC

House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) and Representative Mark White (R-Memphis) visited the University of Tennessee Health Science Center yesterday to tour the campus, interact with students, and discuss the institution’s mission and multiple impacts on education, research, and outreach.  Also highlighted at the meeting was UTHSC’s substantial statewide economic impact.

Some findings from UTHSC’s latest economic impact study follow:

  • UTHSC’s total economic contribution to the state amounted to more than $2.3 billion.
  • UTHSC received $126.6 million of state appropriated dollars in FY2010. The $2.3 billion total impact exceeds the state appropriation by a factor of more than 18 to 1.
  • UTHSC was directly and indirectly responsible for approximately 21,096 jobs across the state.  The largest share of these jobs are in the Memphis area.
  • The 21,096 jobs created by UTHSC resulted in a total of $792.1 million of earnings, or about $38,140 per worker in FY2010.  In comparison, Tennessee per capita personal income in 2010 was just $35,307.
  • Memphis, where the main UTHSC campus is located, contributed the most in total economic impact, representing about 73.8 percent of the total $2.3 billion impact.  The other two major UTHSC locations, Knoxville and Chattanooga, represent 17.3 percent and 8.9 percent, respectively, of the total.
  • Of all physicians practicing in Tennessee, 34.3 percent were graduates of one of the four Tennessee colleges of medicine; of these, 66.7 percent were graduates of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine.  The other three medical schools in Tennessee (Vanderbilt University, Meharry Medical College, and East Tennessee State University) together account for just 11.1 percent.

The University of Tennessee is grateful to Speaker Harwell and Representative White for taking time to learn more about the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and its distinctive contributions to education, research, clinical care, and public service.

To read the full economic impact study, click here.

Vice Admiral Visits UT Knoxville, Meets with University Leaders


Vice Admiral Harry Harris visits with Tom Ladd, Associate Dean of Research and Technology at the UTK College of Business Administration

Today, the University of Tennessee hosted Vice Admiral Harry Harris of the United States Navy.  Harris, a native of Crossville, Tennessee, currently serves as the assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

During his campus visit, Harris received briefings conducted at the Howard Baker Center on the University’s academic, research and public service mission areas as the state’s Land-Grant University.  He was informed of UT’s role in co-managing Oak Ridge National Lab and the work of UT Knoxville’s Governor’s Chairs in the areas of nuclear engineering, energy storage, materials science and smart grid technology. Also highlighted were the efforts to upgrade the UT-ORNL supercomputer to be the fastest de-classified computer in the world.

Harris spent time discussing the UT-Air Force Management Partnership with UT leaders during his visit.  The partnership currently trains over 3,000 personnel through the UT Knoxville National Defense Business Institute.

Sen. Becky Duncan Massey, Sen. Jim Summerville Tour UT

Sen. Becky Duncan Massey (R) Knoxville and Sen. Jim Summerville (R) Dickson were guests of UT President Joe DiPietro, UT Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy Cheek and UT Institute of Agriculture Chancellor Larry Arrington for a tour on Wednesday and Thursday of UT Knoxville and Ag campus facilities. Oak Ridge National Laboratory officials helped host the senators in their visit to joint UT-ORNL facilities in Oak Ridge. UT and ORNL leaders are grateful to both senators for making time to learn more about the University’s broad and multiple impacts in education, research and outreach.