KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Former University of Tennessee President Emerson “Eli” Fly, whose tenure as president capped a 40-year career in the university system, has died. He was 82.

UT says Fly died Monday in Knoxville.

Fly served as UT president from 2001 until 2002. UT says he was named acting president in 2001, which university trustees later designated as permanent for historical records.

Fly’s tenure at UT included a stint as vice chancellor for finance at UT Chattanooga starting in 1973. In 1977 he was named UT vice president for business and finance. In 1991, he became the executive vice president.

Fly also served as the first president of the University of Tennessee Foundation.

He was a U.S. Navy pilot and held the rank of commander in the U.S. Naval Air Reserve.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.