Former UT Martin chancellor dies
Posted: Thursday, October 30, 2008 11:19 am
Dr. Larry T. McGehee, former University of Tennessee at Martin chancellor and longtime newspaper columnist, died Saturday at his home in Spartanburg, S.C. He was 72.
McGehee, who was an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) minister, served as UT Martin chancellor from 1971-79.
Before becoming UT Martin chancellor, he served five years in several executive positions at the University of Alabama.
He left UT Martin to become special assistant to the president at UT Knoxville, a post he held until 1982. He served as vice president and professor of religion at Wofford College in Spartanburg from 1982 until his retirement.
“Many of us are saddened to hear about Dr. McGehee,” said Dr. Tom Rakes, UT Martin chancellor. “Many of his initial efforts and campus priorities set the positive direction we still enjoy today.”
The university first hired UT Martin Chancellor Emeritus Nick Dunagan during the McGehee administration. “Larry McGehee was a dedicated leader who especially loved to interact with students and helped shape a student-centered culture at UTM,” he said.
Dunagan recalled McGehee’s final visit to Martin in spring 2005 when he signed copies of his book, “Southern Seen: Meditations on Past and Present.” Dunagan said, “It was a magical visit, and little did we know that, for most of us, this would be our last opportunity to see him. We lost a wonderful man who left a major impact on the Martin campus.”
McGehee’s book was a collection of his newspaper columns about people, places and events in the South published by The University of Tennessee Press. At the time of McGehee’s visit in 2005, his columns appeared in 100 newspapers in eight states.
McGehee received national attention in May 1972 by delivering a two-and-a-half minute, 250-word commencement address to University of Alabama graduates. Time magazine featured the speech in both its domestic and foreign editions.
Survivors include his wife, Elizabeth, and two daughters. A public memorial celebration for McGehee will be announced later.
Dr. Larry T. McGehee at a book signing on campus in Spring 2005