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Reese, Jack E. : Home

Jack E. Reese

Early Life and Education

Jack E. Reese was born in Hendersonville, North Carolina on April 12, 1929. He attended Berea College where his former professors remembered him to be “hard-working, capable, sensitive to intellectual problems, issues, and especially people.” He graduated from Berea in 1951 with an A.B. in English. He then attended the University of Kentucky where he received his M.A in English. After obtaining his M.A. in 1953, Reese served in the United States Navy for four years. He was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia and worked as a cryptographic officer, communications watch officer, and communications officer for commander with the Atlantic Fleet. Following his service in the military he earned his Ph.D. in English at the University of Kentucky and married Nancy Reese. They had two children, Matthew Bradley and Kristin Alyce.


In 1965, Dr. Reese began his long lasting career at the University of Tennessee. He served as a professor, Dean for graduate studies, vice chancellor for academic affairs, and finally chancellor of the university. He was recommended for the job of chancellor by the University of Tennessee’s president, Ed Boling who said Dr. Reese, “is deeply committed to the triad of instruction, research and public service programs comprising the mission of the University of Tennessee.” Dr. Reese once remarked that one of his disappointments as chancellor was that he could not meet and know every student at the University.

Dr. Reese contributed a number of articles to scholarly journals, many of them concerning literature of Renaissance England. He also edited the UTK Faculty Handbook and several editions of the University’s annual Report on Research and Publications. He was a frequent speaker at scholarly conferences addressing his audiences on matters such as intellectual freedom, the preparation of community college teachers, and the future of graduate education.

Other Activities

In 1976 Dr. Reese was elected president of the Southern Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges. He was chairman of the Tennessee Arts Commission, president of the UTK Faculty Club, and a member of the Vestry of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Knoxville. He was active in the South Atlantic Modern Language Association, the Southeastern Renaissance Conference, Phi Kappa Phi, the Greater Knoxville Chamber of Commerce, and the Knoxville Area Urban League.


In 1975 Dr. Reese received the Omicron Delta Kappa Outstanding Administrator Award for his “open, honest and informal relations with students, his sensitivity to faculty concerns and his involvement with the Knoxville community.”

Berea College awarded Dr. Reese an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws in 1980.

List of Works

“Unity in Chapman’s Masque of the Middle Temple and Lincoln’s Inn.” Studies in English Literature, 4:291-305.
“Keats and Others on Chapman’s Homer.” Cithra, 4: 32-42
“Marvell’s ‘Nymph’ in a New Light.” Etudes Anglaises, 18:298-401.
“Sound and Sense: The Teaching of Prosody.” College English, 27:368-373.
“New Titles and New Directions in Graduate Education.” Journal of Higher Education, 38:250-256.
“The MACT Program at the University of Tennessee.” Proceedings, Seventh Annual Meeting of the Council of Graduate Schools in the United States, pp. 88-94.
“The Formalization of Horror in Titus Andronicus.” Shakespeare Quarterly, 21:77-84.
“The Teaching Internship at Community Colleges.” Junior College Journal, 42(8):27-31.
Potiphar’s Wife and other Folk Tales in Chapman’s Blind Beggar of Alexandria.Tennessee Studies in Literature, 18:33.
“A Question of Values.” Phi Kappa Phi Journal, 54 (Summer):3-7.
“Dithyramb and Paean in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Review of English Studies, 55(4):351-358.



Additional Resources

  • Berea College Vertical File, Special Collections and Archives 

  • RG 11 – Honorary Degrees V, Berea College Archives  

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