Cole Named UT Presidential Assistant

KNOXVILLE — Dr. Cathy Cole, deputy executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, has been named acting executive assistant to UT President Designate John W. Shumaker.

Eli Fly, UT acting president, said Tuesday in announcing the appointment that it is important to have someone work closely with Shumaker during his transition from the University of Louisville to the University of Tennessee. Cole, who has been with THEC since 1987, had the lead staff role in UT’s presidential search, which culminated March 5 in the selection of Shumaker as UT’s 21st president.

Her appointment is effective immediately.

“Dr. Cole did an excellent job working with the Board of Trustees, the search advisory council and the search consultant,” Fly said. “We are fortunate to have her in this important role.”

Cole said, “I am honored that Dr. Shumaker has entrusted the confidence in me to serve the university. The support provided by President Fly in coordinating an effective transition is greatly appreciated. Working with students, faculty, administrators, staff and alumni throughout the UT system allowed for a successful search and each constituency group will be important in achieving a smooth transition.”

Shumaker said he is pleased that Cole will be joining his administration.

“She brings knowledge of Tennessee higher education and has a depth of experiences in university administration and statewide governance. Dr. Cole is currently coordinating the presidential transition with Acting President Fly and other administrators. The work they are doing and the analysis they are completing is greatly appreciated, Shumaker said.

In addition to her tenure at the higher education commission, Cole has university experience having served as assistant to the president at Murray State University from 1984-87, in charge of legislative relations, strategic planning, affirmative action and institutional research. She also has worked with the Kentucky and Louisiana higher education coordinating boards in the areas of finance, government relations, public relations and statewide policy development.

A native of Paris, Tennessee, she is the daughter of Judge and Mrs. Ardell Cole. She earned the doctor of philosophy degree in higher education administration and finance from Southern Illinois University (1983), and master’s (1977) and bachelor’s degrees from Murray State University (1976).

Cole was responsible for public affairs and technology at THEC. She developed for THEC a Worldwide Web site for Tennessee higher education that has links to all of the state’s colleges and universities. She planned and implemented a $500,000 network-based technology program for THEC in 1998.

Cole has professional affiliations with the Southern Regional Education Board, the Education Commission of the States and the Public Relations Society of America. She is active with civic and charitable organizations.