Civil Rights Icon Appointed to Key Administrative Post at the University of Tennessee

Rita Sanders Geier was named associate to the chancellor at the University of Tennessee. In this position she will be in charge of intercultural programs and implementing the university’s diversity plan. She was also appointed a senior fellow at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the university.

Geier was the executive counselor to the commissioner of the Social Security Administration in Washington, D.C.  A graduate of Fisk University, Geier holds a master’s degree from the University of Chicago and a law degree from Vanderbilt University.

In 1968 Geier was a 23-year-old faculty member at historically black Tennessee State University when she filed a federal lawsuit against the state system of higher education. Eventually the suit was settled and the Geier Consent Decree provided $77 million for efforts to desegregate the state university system.