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Fox to leave Boyd Center, Bruce take helm

Don Bruce
Don Bruce
Bill Fox
Bill Fox

After 27 years leading the University of Tennessee at Knoxville’s Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research, Bill Fox will leave his position to serve as a special advisor to Chancellor Donde Plowman while Don Bruce, the center’s associate director, will step into the executive director role.

In his new role, Fox will provide economic analysis to inform the areas of budget and finance, workforce development, corporate engagement and public policy for the university.

“Dr. Fox’s deep institutional knowledge of the state’s economic landscape and his relationships with elected officials and decision-makers at all levels will be invaluable to our team,” Plowman said in an announcement to the campus community.

He has spent more than 40 years at the Boyd Center and the Haslam College for Business, including 27 years as its leader. Fox first joined the staff of the University of Tennessee in 1979 and was head of the department of economics in the Haslam College of Business from 1992 to 1997. He was named a Chancellor’s Profess in 2011 and a Macebearer, the university’s highest faculty honor, in 2013. Fox was appointed the Randy and Jenny Boyd Distinguished Professor in 2016 when the Boyd Center was renamed to honor the alumni and benefactors. Fox will become Boyd Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Bruce will be named the Randy and Jenny Boyd Distinguished Professor.

Throughout his time at the university, Fox’s funded research has totaled to nearly $47.5 million. Fox has been published in a number of economic journals over the past four decades, and he has served on several editorial advisory boards and as editor of publications such as the National Tax Journal. Fox received his doctorate from The Ohio State University and since then has become a leading national expert on internet taxation, with extensive expertise on tax policy, e-commerce, public finance and fiscal federalism.

Bruce praised Fox for his leadership of the Boyd Center.

 “Bill Fox is a legend in this business,” Bruce said. “He has worked tirelessly throughout his career to build the Boyd Center into one of the nation’s leading university-based public policy research centers, and I am honored to have the opportunity to build on his impressive legacy.”

Bruce joined the Boyd Center in 1999 and was named associated director in 2021. He has held the Douglas and Brenda Horne Professorship in Business since 2009. Since 2012, he has served as UT’s faculty athletics representative to the SEC and NCAA. He recently was elected national president of the 1A representatives and was appointed to the NCAA Division 1 Council. He currently serves on the editorial board of the National Tax Journal and is an associate editor for Public Finance Review.

Bruce received his doctorate in Economics from Syracuse University in 1999, and his published research has focused on topics such as federal, state and local tax policy, economics of e-commerce, entrepreneurship and self-employment, welfare policy and housing. Through the Boyd Center, Bruce has produced research for several Tennessee government agencies including the Department of Human Services, the Office of the Governor, the Department of Transportation and the Higher Education Commission.

Fox said Bruce is an outstanding choice to lead the Boyd Center.

“I am thrilled that the Boyd Center will be in Don’s very capable hands,” Fox said. “He has been an outstanding part of the center and UT since the first day he stepped on campus, and his contributions will expand ever more with this new responsibility. I am excited to see the new directions that Don will take the center.”