- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 11, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam on Tuesday named state Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey and retired Army Gen. Gary Luck to newly independent university boards.

The new boards are part of the Republican governor’s initiative to spin six four-year public universities out of the Tennessee Board of Regents system. Each board will control budgets, tuition and the selection of university presidents.

Haslam has argued that the change will give the Tennessee Board of Regents a focus on guiding the state’s 40 two-year schools. The University of Tennessee system remains unchanged.

Ramsey, a Blountville Republican who is not seeking re-election, is one of five East Tennessee State University graduates to join the school’s board. The remaining appointees are Janet Ayers, Steven DeCarlo, Dorothy Grisham, Linda Latimer, Scott Niswonger and James Powell.

Haslam named Luck, the former commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, and retired Army Brig. Gen. Robin Mealer, a director at the U.S. Army Manpower Analysis Agency on the board of Austin Peay State University in Clarksville. They will join Bill Atkins, Katherine Cannata, Larry Carroll, Don Jenkins, Valencia May, Mike O’Malley on the board.

The boards for Middle Tennessee in Murfreesboro, Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, Tennessee State in Nashville and the University of Memphis are expected to be announced later in the week.

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