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Dr. Robert H. Kirk passes at age 92

A ground-breaker has left us.

We are sad to announce the passing of Dr. Robert H. Kirk (92) on September 25, 2023.  Dr. Kirk joined the University of Tennessee in 1967 as an associate professor.  He later became the first African American to attain the role of full professor in UTK history.

Dr. Kirk later served as the department head for the Department of Safety (a precursor to the department of Public Health) and oversaw the university’s Safety Center.  He retired from the university in 2003.

Over his long career, Dr. Kirk left a lasting impact in the fields of Public Health and Safety.  He served as a consultant to such institutions as the Tennessee Department of Education, the National Cancer Institute, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute among others.  He was also a member of the board of directors of Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center and Covenant Health.  Additionally, he became the first African-American to serve as commissioner of the Knoxville Utilities Board.

The Department of Public Health would like to express our sincere sympathy to the family.  Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.