After nearly a decade of leadership at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Donde Plowman has accepted a position as chancellor of the University of Tennessee.
Tennessee announced her selection at an April 26 news conference in Knoxville.
Plowman came to Nebraska in 2010 to serve as James Jr. and Susan Stuart Dean of the College of Business. Under her leadership, the college experienced steady growth, including the construction of Howard L. Hawks Hall, a privately funded, $84 million facility that opened in 2017.
She was named the university’s first executive vice chancellor in late 2016. In that position, she has served as the university’s intellectual and academic leader, overseeing its academic enterprise and student services. She played an instrumental role in guiding the university’s ambitious strategic planning effort in conjunction with observations of its 150th anniversary.
“Donde has been an energetic and highly successful leader at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln,” said Chancellor Ronnie Green. “Her impact on this campus will always be visible whenever anyone walks through Hawks Hall. She did great things as dean to propel the College of Business forward, and the university as a whole as the executive vice-chancellor.
“I wish Donde well and, as she did at Nebraska, I’m sure she will start something big for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.”
In 2016, the University of Nebraska Foundation recognized Plowman with the Harlan J. Noddle Award for Distinguished Development Service for her efforts in raising $150 million for the college, including more than $80 million for the new building. She also was instrumental in forming the Donald O. Clifton Strengths Institute, made possible by a $30 million gift from the Clifton family and the Gallup Organization.
As executive vice chancellor, Plowman led strategic planning efforts. She promoted diversity and inclusion, and was a leader in the effort to hire Nebraska’s first vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion. She also led the university’s Greek vitality initiative, to address issues in the university’s Greek community and to improve Greek life on campus.
Previously associate dean of graduate studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Plowman served as a management professor at the University of Tennessee from 2007 to 2010 and as head of the management department in Tennessee’s Haslam College of Business from 2008-2010.
Family roots – and the idea of being dean of a Big Ten business college – drew her to Nebraska in 2010. Plowman’s great-grandparents lived in a sod house in Broken Bow, Nebraska, where her grandmother grew up.
“I am thrilled and deeply humbled to be selected as the next chancellor of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville,” Plowman said. “My years in Nebraska and my leadership roles here have been the greatest honor of my life.
To have served as the dean of the College of Business and then as Executive Vice Chancellor with Chancellor Ronnie Green and so many other exceptional people are experiences I will cherish forever.”