Third chancellor candidate provides optimistic message

The third of four forums for the candidates for the next UTM chancellor was held yesterday in the Watkins Auditorium at 2 p.m.

Dr. Keith Carver, Jr, outlined his qualifications for the position and vision for the university in a presentation titled, “UT Martin: Achieving Student Success.”

Over a 22-year career in higher education, Carver has held several positions within the University of Tennessee system. He currently serves as the Executive Assistant to the President.

At the Knoxville campus, he was Director of Development and Alumni Affairs for the college of law from 2001-2006, Assistant Director of Development and Alumni Affairs for the college of law from 1998-2001, Program Advisor for the Office of Student Activities from 1997-1998 and co-director in the Dean of Students Office from 1993-1995. For four years, he was also the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Development at UT Martin.

Other offices held by the Carver include Interim Vice Chancellor for Development and Alumni Affairs for The University of Tennessee Health Science Center formApril 2010-December 2010, and Director of Special Projects and Coordinator of Experiential Education at Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio from 1995-1997.

He has a doctorate in Philosophy and a Master’s degree in College Student Personnel and Educational Leadership from UT Knoxville. He also has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Memphis State University.

Born in Jackson and raised in Crockett County, Carver recognizes this position as “an opportunity to come home.” Having lived with his grandparents as a child, he acknowledged that living in a multi-generational family impacted his life.

Additionally, Carver said that this job is appealing because of his life’s “paradigm” shift as his daughter goes through the college selection process. Additionally, Carver expressed that he missed the energy of a college campus.

The West Tennessee native described his career as a mix of mixture of student life and success, philanthropy, partnership with the community and private partners, state level policy and strategic planning. From this, he has experience working in student life, development, daily interaction with decision makers and engaging with businesses and industry.

“One thing that development taught me more than anything else is the value of relationships, and that it’s not just about a transaction,” said Carver.

Challenges faced by the university were included in the presentation as well. These included topics such as accreditation, revenue and six consecutive years of declining enrollment.

However, Carver recognized opportunities for change in state support, discounted tuition and the school’s economic contribution to the area. For example, he cited an economic study stating that UTM creates $481 million in income to the northwest Tennessee annually.

The presentation concluded with a message of optimism and a call for unity for the benefit of the university.

“Folks, I would love to have the opportunity to roll up my sleeves, lock arms with you and march forward, because I truly believe UTM’s best days are ahead of us,” said Carver.

The last of the candidates, Dr. Jay Morgan, will present at the same time and place tomorrow. All forums are open to the public and can be viewed via livestream. To learn more about the candidates and provide feedback, visit

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