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Interim no more: Randy Boyd confirmed as president of UT System until June 30, 2025

The Knoxville entrepreneur formally takes over a system of campuses that switched to online classes and are researching ways to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Randy Boyd has been interim president of the University of Tennessee System since 2018. On Friday, he shed the 'interim' part of his title and became president of it for the next five years.

In a unanimous vote, the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees announced he would serve until June 30, 2025.

The board also announced that he would serve without taking a salary, but he would receive $10,000 per year to cover health insurance costs. That's what the millionaire entrepreneur has been getting as interim.

"We are destined to do great things, despite the chaos we’re facing today," Boyd said during the special board meeting on Friday. "This will be the greatest decade in the history of the university.”

RELATED: UT trustees to meet in special session March 27, consider formally elevating Boyd

RELATED: University of Tennessee suspending in-person classes for remainder of spring semester due to coronavirus concerns

Boyd's first move as president of the UT System was to hear an update Friday on how UT is responding to the spread of COVID-19. The Knoxville campus recently moved to online classes for the rest of the semester and cancelled commencement ceremonies to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Over 77,000 students logged into online classes this week as the university moved to a digital system. Peyton Manning even showed up in a communications class to inspire students to persevere through the pandemic.

President Joe DiPietro retired as president in 2018.

Boyd spoke about sterile factories that now produce liters of hand sanitizer for UT instead of their usual operations. He also noted how facilities across the state are collecting 1,500 samples per day from people to test for coronavirus.

University of Tennessee officials said that they expected the spread of coronavirus to be one of the most transformative events in the system's history.

"I think we will be better and more efficient when this thing is over. It's been exciting to watch people creatively come together," one official said during the meeting.

RELATED: Randy Boyd gets high marks for first full year as UT interim president; he's set to stay in 2020

The special meeting also ended by passing a bill that allowed campus chancellors to have the authority to issue blanket extensions for faculty tenures in case of a disruption to regular university operations.

Officials said that the bill was being discussed last fall, but the Board of Trustees could not agree on what would constitute a significant disruption in university operations. Now, they said they could agree.

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