Skip to main content

UF Senior Vice President Jimmy Cheek Accepts UT Chancellor Post

  • By:
    Mickie Anderson – (352) 273-3566
  • Source:
    Jimmy G. Cheek –, (352) 392-1971

Jimmy Cheek
View Photo

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Jimmy G. Cheek, the University of Florida’s senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, has been named the next chancellor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Cheek accepted an offer from UT President John Petersen to become chancellor of the Knoxville campus today and will begin in that role February 1.

Cheek, part of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences for 33 years, said he’s enthusiastic about the move, but will miss the institution where he’s served for so long.

“It’s difficult to leave. I’ve worked with many fine people in Florida, from faculty and staff to agricultural producers and 4-H members, from students and alumni to legislators and stakeholders. It has been an honor to be part of IFAS and the University of Florida. I am proud of our many accomplishments in meeting the state’s agricultural and natural resource needs,” said Cheek.

“While I know that IFAS will continue to provide the teaching, research and extension that Florida deserves, I look forward to this new chapter of my life, and this wonderful opportunity to serve the people of Tennessee.”

Cheek came to UF in 1975 as a faculty member in agricultural education and communication. He was assistant dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences from 1992-1999 and was its dean from 1999 until 2004, when he was tapped to lead IFAS.

With his move to Tennessee, the 62-year-old Texas native will assume leadership of a state university struggling issues similar to those he’s been grappling with at UF – working to maintain strong academic programs amid lean economic times.

UF administrators were forced to cut budgets earlier this year, and UT officials say they expect cuts for the next fiscal year.

In late August, following a national search, UT officials announced five candidates for chancellor. Candidates went through a two-day interview with campus officials in September.

As senior vice president, Cheek was head of UF/IFAS, which includes the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the School of Natural Resources and the Environment, the School of Forest Resources and Conservation, elements of the College of Veterinary Medicine, the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, 13 research and education centers and the Florida Cooperative Extension Service, with offices in each of the state’s 67 counties.

He’s held major leadership positions in professional organizations and has served in numerous leadership and governance roles at UF.

Cheek holds a bachelor’s degree and his Ph.D. degree from Texas A&M University and received his master’s degree from Lamar University. He is married to Ileen and they have two adult children and one granddaughter.