Bill Freeman, a prominent Nashville businessman and former mayoral candidate, and Bishop Joseph Walker III, the leader of one of Nashville’s biggest churches, are on the list, along with other local business leaders.
Once Haslam’s appointees are approved by the General Assembly in 2017, the board will have the authority to set TSU’s tuition, approve its budget and set its priorities. Haslam is appointing new boards for six state colleges this week as part of his plan to overhaul the Tennessee Board of Regents system, which was included in this year’s Focus on College and University Success, or FOCUS Act.
Other Board of Regents universities that will get new boards include Middle Tennessee State University, Tennessee Tech University and the University of Memphis. Haslam announ-ced his appointees for Austin Peay State University and East Tennessee State University boards on Tuesday. The Board of Regents will continue to manage the state’s community and technical colleges.
In a statement, Haslam has said individual governing boards will “provide more focused support to the institutions,” echoing an argument he made as the FOCUS Act made its way through the General Assembly earlier this year.
TSU President Glenda Glover was one of the most outspoken critics of Haslam’s plan, although she was careful to say she did not oppose it outright. Glover expressed concern that the individual Board of Regents universities would be outmatched when competing against each other and the intact University of Tennessee system for state resources.
On Wednesday, Glover praised Haslam’s choices for the TSU board.
“We commend Gov. Bill Haslam on the slate of appointees for the newly created TSU state governing board, and look forward to working with them,” Glover said in a statement. “These are exciting times for the university and we are immensely pleased with these board members.”
The appointees to the TSU board include: Dr. Deborah Cole, president/CEO of Citizens Savings Bank & Trust Co.; Stephen Corbeil, president of TriStar Division of Hospital Corporation of America; Bill Freeman, chairman of real estate development firm Freeman Webb, Inc.; Dr. Richard Allen Lewis, owner of Lewis & Wright Funeral Home; Pam Martin, president of Cushion Employer Services and member of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission; Obie McKenzie, managing director of BlackRock, Inc.; Dr. Edith Peterson Mitchell, president of the National Medical Association and clinical professor of Medicine and Medical Oncology for the Kimmel Cancer Center; and Bishop Joseph Walker III, senior pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church.