Peter F. Buckley, M.D., became the 11th chancellor of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center after a unanimous confirmation vote by the University of Tennessee System Board of Trustees. His appointment is effective Feb. 1.

Buckley, most recently dean of the School of Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University and executive vice president of medical affairs for the VCU Health System, succeeds Steve J. Schwab, M.D., who has served as UTHSC chancellor for about 12 years.

“I am delighted to follow the great legacy of my colleague and friend, Dr. Schwab, and to build on that legacy and all the great work of the faculty, trainees and staff, not just in Memphis, but all across the state,” Buckley said.

The pandemic has given the public a greater awareness and appreciation for academic health science centers like UTHSC, Buckley said.

“They understand that science brings hope, science can change lives, science can save lives, and that science can do that in a very rapid way when we all work really well together,” he said.

“There’s also a greater appreciation for the compassion and the skill of our clinicians, as well as an appreciation of the need to build up our clinical workforce all across the state, and of course, that is the hallmark of UTHSC.”

The chancellor is the chief executive officer of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s statewide operation, which includes six doctoral degree-granting health science colleges – Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Nursing, Graduate Health Sciences and Health Professions – as well as major regional clinical health science locations in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Nashville.

“As you look at the Health Science Center, while our home is in Memphis, our footprint through our campuses is really all across the great state of Tennessee,” he said. “And so, that’s what I see as the opportunity, the opportunity to maximize that community relationship within Memphis, while also being the health sciences provider of the clinical workforce for the entirety of Tennessee.

“I think Memphis is on an amazing trajectory,” he said, citing its high-quality health care, the world-class institutions that UTHSC counts as partners, and a strong business community.“

A native of Ireland, Buckley and his wife, Leonie, emigrated to America in 1992.

“Six years after that, we had the amazing joy of becoming American citizens,” he said. The couple have two adult sons, John and Brian, and enjoy raising Great Danes.

Buckley has served as the dean of the VCU School of Medicine since 2017. Prior to that, he was the dean of the School of Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta for seven years, overseeing regional campuses across the state of Georgia.

A psychiatrist and expert in schizophrenia, Buckley is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and sits on the Data and Safety Monitoring Board of the National Institute of Mental Health.

He has published more than 360 articles and more than 80 book chapters, and has received numerous awards for his academic, clinical and research work.

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