Don Bruce Named Director of UT’s Boyd Center as Bill Fox Transitions to Chancellor’s Office

June 9, 2022

After 27 years at the helm of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research, Bill Fox is stepping down as director on July 1 and associate director Don Bruce will transition to that leadership role.

Though Fox is leaving the Boyd Center, he will continue to serve Chancellor Donde Plowman and her leadership team as special advisor to the chancellor. In this 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.

Headshot of Bill Fox, a smiling white man with silver hair wearing a dark suit and tie.

Bill Fox

“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.

Fox, who spent more than 40 years at the Boyd Center and the Haslam College of Business, first came to UTK in 1979. 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.

“Bill Fox is a legend in this business. 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 said.

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.

Headshot of Don Bruce, a smiling white man with a beard wearing a dark suit and orange striped tie.

Don Bruce

Bruce received his Ph.D. 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. 

“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.”

Fox was the head of the Department of Economics in the Haslam College of Business from 1992 to 1997. In 2011, Fox was named a Chancellor’s Professor and in 2013 was named Macebearer, the university’s highest faculty honor.  He received his Ph.D. 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. 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. 

His impact extends well beyond UT and ranges from advising multiple Tennessee governors, state departments and legislative bodies on key economic issues to consulting for and contracting with the federal government, academic institutes and more across the nation and in 45 countries worldwide. Fox has held visiting appointments at the University of Hawaii and the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, and was the Distinguished Fulbright Chair at the University of Frankfurt, Germany. He is a member of the American Economic Association and past president and recipient of the Steven D. Gold Award from the National Tax Association. 

“Bill Fox has done an extraordinary job leading the Boyd Center over the years. Under his leadership, the Center has established a strong reputation for high quality economic analysis across a wide range of budget, tax, and education policy issues. The work of the Center serves well the leaders of our State, and through them, all of us as citizens,” said Steve Mangum, dean of the Haslam College of Business. “Bill’s transition leaves big shoes to be filled in the college. We are fortunate to have Don Bruce on faculty and already associated with the Boyd Center. Don is able and well-prepared to lead the Center into its future.”


Erin Hatfield, (865-974-6086,