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April 30, 2023 | Tom Ballard

UT-ORII’s inaugural Executive Director moving to a different shade of orange

Joan Bienvenue has been named Associate Vice President for Research at the University of Texas System. She'll depart for her new role in early summer.

The inaugural Executive Director of the University of Tennessee-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute (UT-ORII) is moving to another UT with a more burnt orange color.

In internal postings, UT President Randy Boyd, UT, Knoxville Chancellor Donde Plowman, and Jeff Smith, Interim Director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), announced that Joan Bienvenue has accepted a position as Associate Vice Chancellor for Research for the University of Texas System. She will be leaving early this summer.

According to the postings, UT-ORII’s Executive Council, which includes leadership from both UT and ORNL, will name an Interim Executive Director while conducting a national search. Programs will continue without disruption.

Bienvenue (pictured here) started her dual roles on March 8, 2021, relocating from Charlottesville where she had been serving as Senior Executive Director of the Applied Research Institute at the University of Virginia. She told us in this September 2021 article that she was a marathoner, and those skills would serve her well.

UT-ORII was funded by a five-year, $20 million commitment from the U.S. Department of Energy and a $70 million commitment from the State of Tennessee.

The three executives noted that in Bienvenue’s two years helping to launch and lead UT-ORII, “Joan and her team have made great progress in aligning university and national lab capabilities in a way that will establish Tennessee as a hub for convergent research and talent development.”

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