- Associated Press - Friday, June 19, 2015

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Edward J. Boling, who served as president of the University of Tennessee system for 18 years, has died, the university said. He was 93.

Boling’s tenure from 1970 to 1988 is the longest in recent history at UT, and he will be remembered for the relationships he formed with staff and students, the university said in a news release Thursday evening. His tenure also is notable because of his dedication to private fundraising and to supporting the growth of women’s sports. Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville carries his name.

“Dr. Boling embodied a dedication and devotion to his alma mater and to its students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends that we should all strive to emulate,” said university president Joe DiPietro. “He oversaw the birth of a modern, high-quality land-grant institution linked to national labs with excellence at every level.”

According to the university, UT saw expanded enrollment and physical growth, particularly on the Knoxville campus, during Boling’s presidency. He helped establish the Institute for Public Service and secured state support for the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Boling earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at UT and received his doctorate in education from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. Before working at UT, Boling served as budget director and commissioner of finance and administration for the state of Tennessee.

Boling became president emeritus after his retirement in 1988 and he remained active in building and maintaining relationships with UT donors and prospects, according to the university. He frequently attended the university’s basketball and football games.

Boling’s first job out of high school was movie theater usher. He was eventually promoted to manager at the Tennessee Theatre in downtown Knoxville.

During his freshman year at UT, he was called to active duty in the Army during World War II and placed in an engineering training program. His company was sent to Normandy, and he was stationed in France and Germany.

He is survived by his wife, Carolyn, three sons and six grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending.

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