Daniel Pugh is a VFL.
After covering the search for a new Vice Chancellor of Student Life during the past week, the Editorial Staff of The Daily Beacon has chosen Pugh as the best candidate.
For any students unaware, former Vice Chancellor of Student Life Tim Rogers stepped down at the conclusion of spring semester, 2013. The ensuing vacancy left UT administration racing to find a suitable candidate.
Four candidates emerged, each highly qualified and laden with sparkling resumes.
Full disclosure: I did not have the opportunity to meet the first candidate, Jean Kim. Thanks to the Dean of Students office, however, I had the opportunity to join fellow campus leaders at personal luncheons with the other three candidates.
Before I explain why Pugh is the best candidate: I'd invite you to examine the "Candidates at a Glance." Better yet, visit here and peruse each candidate's cover letter, curriculum vitae and WebCast presentation.
But back to Pugh: why should we select the Vice Provost for Student Affairs from the University of Arkansas as our new Vice Chancellor?
According to U.S. News and World Report, he comes from a strikingly similar school. Arkansas has almost an identical four-year graduation rate as UT, and only trails our student-to-faculty ratio by two seats in the classroom.
Room and board in Fayetteville costs within 2 percent of those classy Massey dormitories.
Essentially, Pugh would bring sturdy experience at a similar school to Tennessee, a university that cannot afford to suffer through an adjustment period (see: fraternity scandals, Sex Week scandals, judicial affairs scandals, and Tyga concerts). Student Life doesn't exactly have us singing "Rack City."
The differences he offers continue to make his case for Vice Chancellor. At Arkansas, he managed a much larger Greek population, an undertaking that will provide valuable insight into creating a new Greek culture at UT.
He also listed Arkansas' Center for Education Access, Center for Community Engagement and an award-winning food pantry program as highlights from his eight years at Arkansas.
In other words, he's a proven advocate for those with disabilities, student volunteers and the hungry.
In a city like Knoxville, where those three areas are fighting to change traditional ignorance by starting new traditions of forward thinking, an advocate would be nice.
Experience with new residential facilities? Check. Diversity-focused? Check.
He even endeavored to bring the Dalai Lama to Arkansas in 2007, and four years later His Holiness spoke to the Razorback faithful.
Despite all of this experience and worthiness, it wasn't his resume that sold me. It was something he said during one of those luncheons with UT student leaders.
"It's not about football."
He said it in passing, a casual statement that nevertheless spoke volumes about his character. As a UT graduate, he is obviously a huge Vol fan; Pugh even has an orange stone in his class ring from the University of Georgia, where he received his doctorate.
But even for a VFL from the late '80s, with young children and a potential future of Saturday afternoons in Neyland Stadium, UT is not just about football.
He is coming with ambitions for the students, and that makes him exactly what we need.
R.J. Vogt is a junior in College Scholars. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.