Fred Obear returns as interim UTC chancellor

Dr. Frederick Obear, retired chancellor of The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, will return to the position on an interim basis next month.

UT President John Petersen said Obear, who was UTC’s chancellor for 16 years before retiring in 1997, will serve until a successor to Dr. Bill Stacy is appointed. Stacy will become headmaster of Baylor School here in August. A search committee to recommend candidates for Stacy’s successor will be named soon, Peterson said.

“I have learned very quickly that when their university needs them, UT people are quick to respond,” Petersen said. “I’m glad Dr. Obear was still in Chattanooga and available to answer the call.

“We will do a thorough search for a new chancellor and move it along as quickly as possible. I think the campus and the community join me in the feeling that with Fred Obear, UTC is in good hands.”

Obear was provost of Oakland University in Michigan when he was named UTC chancellor in 1981. In his final two years in Chattanooga, the campus’ performance funding rating was the highest of any public university in the state.

During his tenure, undergraduate programs in physical therapy and legal assistance were introduced, and graduate programs expanded in English, nursing, business, public administration and environmental sciences.

Petersen identified Obear as a person who has “a tremendous amount of experience and is enormously engaged in the University.”

Obear told faculty, staff, and students he looks at the appointment as “an opportunity to work with President Petersen over the next few months.” Obear added that he hopes to “maintain the quality and direction of the institution over this time.” He smiled when he told the group that Petersen promised him a speedy search process for a new chancellor.

Since being named Chancellor Emeritus, Obear has continued to work for UTC in fundraising and has served as a consultant to other universities.

The Independent University Alumni Association at Lowell presented Obear with the 2003 Distinguished Alumni Award in February, 2003. The award was established in 1978 by the Alumni Association to acknowledge significant contributions made by alumni of the University of Masssachusetts at Lowell.