Happy Birthday, Dr. Boling!


Dr. Edward J. Boling served as UT System president from 1970 to 1988, the longest term of any UT president. Before his appointment as president, Dr. Boling was UT's vice president for development and administration for nine years.

A UT graduate, Dr. Boling was brought back to his alma mater by former UT President Andy Holt in 1961 and then succeeded Holt as president. Before working at UT, Dr. Boling served as budget director and then commissioner of finance and administration for the state of Tennessee.

Dr. Boling serves as president emeritus after his retirement in 1988 and is active in building and maintaining relationships with UT donors and prospects. He frequently attends UT basketball games and enjoys watching UT football practices.

A native of Sevier County, Dr. Boling earned his bachelor's degree in accounting and master's degree in statistics at UT Knoxville and his doctorate in education at Peabody College at Vanderbilt University.

During his career with UT, Dr. Boling heavily promoted private fundraising and relationships with alumni. The University saw expanded enrollment and physical growth, particularly on the Knoxville campus.

As president, Dr. Boling and his senior staff met regularly with staff and students on each campus and had panels of faculty and student advisors.

UT President Emeritus Joe Johnson, who worked with Dr. Boling for the state and the University since 1960, said one of Dr. Boling's accomplishments was creating a sense of family and coordination among the University's campuses and institutes and their faculty, students, administrators and alumni.

Dr. Boling also was instrumental in providing support for women's athletics at UT.

Dr. Boling's first job out of high school was movie theater usher, but when he discovered the janitor earned a higher salary, he got a job on the night shift at ALCOA as a cost accountant.

During his freshman year at UT, he was called to active duty in the Army in 1943 and placed in an engineering training program. His company was sent to Normandy following the invasion, and he was stationed in France and Germany.

Three years later, he returned to UT to finish his degree. Before graduation, the UT statistics department asked him to teach a course. The experience made him want to continue working at a university, but a later teaching assignment fell through and he found work for Union Carbide, which was managing Oak Ridge at the time for the Department of Energy.

Dr. Boling went to work for the state in 1954 when Bill Snodgrass, a former colleague at UT and state comptroller, asked him to be the state budget director for then-Gov. Frank Clement. When Buford Ellington succeeded Clement, Dr. Boling was made commissioner of finance and administration. While in Nashville, Dr. Boling earned his doctorate in education administration, and upon graduation, he was offered a job as vice president under Holt at UT.

"I see the building and maintaining a network of positive supporters of the University among the faculty, staff and student and among alumni, friends and corporate supporters as the central task of the presidency. In such a positive climate, faculty and staff give their best work, students are encouraged and nurtured, financial support builds, and the resulting momentum allows the University to take on ever greater tasks and do them well," Dr. Boling wrote in a biography in 1996.

Dr. Boling served on numerous educational, corporate and civic boards such as the American College Testing Program, Southern Regional Education Board, CSX, North American Philips, the Greater Knoxville Chamber of Commerce, the Knoxville Symphony Society and the East Tennessee Discovery Center.