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Dr. Russ Deaton, VSCC Interim President

Last updated on October 2, 2023

By: Delaney Holman

In the wake of the death of Volunteer State’s president, Dr.Orinthia T. Montague, the Tennessee Board of Regents appointed Dr. Russ Deaton, Executive Vice Chancellor for Policy and Strategy at TBR to be the Interim President of Volunteer State.

In an email from Dr. Emily Short, Dr. Anne-Marie McKee, and Dr. Walter Tarver on Mon. Sept. 25, the appointment of an Interim President was announced following the death of President Dr. Orinthia T. Montague on Sept. 22.

In a separate email from Vol State’s Director of Marketing, Communications, and Media Services, Tami Wallace; an introductory message from Dr. Russ Deaton was shared along with information regarding his background.

Deaton’s long career in the academic field began after earning, a Bachelor of Engineering in civil engineering from Vanderbilt, a Master of Science in human performance and sports studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK), a Master of Science in college student personnel also at UTK and finally earning a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Vanderbilt.

Before working for TBR, Deaton worked as Interim Executive Director, Deputy Executive Director, and leader of the Policy and Data Division at Tennessee Higher Education (THEC) for 17 years.

“He designed several higher education finance policy tools for state government, including a tuition model and Tennessee’s innovative higher education outcomes-based funding formula, the first of its kind in the nation,” while working for THEC.

After transitioning to TBR in 2017, Deaton, “led several of the system’s strategic and student success initiatives, including the innovative Reimagining the Community College Experience project to help students earn career-oriented credentials early in their college careers.”

“Today I join you in mourning the loss of beloved President Dr. Orinthia Montague,” wrote Deaton in his introductory message, where he also shares the announcement of his addition to Vol State.

“With great excitement, I look forward to being a part of this vibrant campus community and to help Vol State get through this difficult time.”

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