East Tennessee State University President Paul E. Stanton Jr. was named president emeritus of the school Thursday.
The title was conferred during the Tennessee Board of Regents quarterly meeting Thursday afternoon. The TBR governs ETSU and other state schools not in the University of Tennessee system.
Stanton, who became the school’s eighth president in January 1997, plans to retire this coming January. He will be succeeded by Brian Noland, who was named to the post in November. Noland is scheduled to take over on Jan. 15.
Stanton said he would work to help Noland as he seeks to advance ETSU.
Stanton, a medical doctor, began his career at ETSU in 1985 as director of the Division of Peripheral Vascular Surgery for the then Veterans Administration Medical Center at Mountain Home and ETSU’s College of Medicine. He became medical dean in 1988.
“In this emeritus capacity I hope to go back over to where I started 27 years ago and do some teaching,” Stanton told the Regents after they voted on the resolution supporting him.
In a moment of levity, Stanton jokingly assured everyone he would not perform surgery anymore.
“I won’t go back into the operating room after 15 years,” Stanton said. “Nobody would want me to do that.”
Earlier in the TBR meeting, a presentation on capital projects was given. Part of this discussion involved the need for schools to raise a percentage of the cost of construction projects. Stanton said he would help Noland, who holds a doctorate in political science, in fundraising efforts if needed.
“So I’ll be doing whatever Dr. Noland needs me to do in helping him in the transition and hopefully continue to help him raise some money,” he said.
Stanton paused briefly to compose himself and thanked everyone in the room for their friendship over the years.
“God bless you,” Stanton said, his wife, Nancy, standing by his side as he addressed the crowd. “I love you.”
The Regents then stood and applauded Stanton.
Regent Greg Duckett remembered Stanton making him feel very welcome when he first became a Regent. He said he would miss Stanton.
“I never thought I’d see this day, but I respect this day and I have the utmost respect for you and your wife Nancy,” Duckett said.
TBR Chancellor John Morgan was also complimentary of Stanton and his career.
“You know, there are some people in this world that you just feel like it’s a better place because they were here,” Morgan said. “And, Paul, that is you.”