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Developing Female Leaders, A Message from Our President Emeritus Profiles in Philanthropy


When women work together to support and encourage one another, they generate an unparalleled force for change.

For more than 100 years, women have made vital contributions to the University of Memphis and the Mid-South. It was the women of the Nineteenth Century Club who first crusaded to established a four-year women’s college in Memphis in 1901. Those progressive efforts gained momentum and ultimately led to the University’s founding 11 years later.  We recognize that the talents, dedication, and perseverance of women are crucial to our success. Together, we will increase and enhance opportunities for women as well as support the next generation of leaders to their full potential.

The University of Memphis is proud to unite the female leaders of today with those of tomorrow to strengthen their enduring impact on our community. To deepen our commitment to the invaluable women of our community, the University of Memphis is pleased to launch the Women's Leadership and Philanthropy Council - a network for women to connect, collaborate, and develop as leaders and philanthropists.

We invite you to discover and celebrate the individual and collective accomplishments of our alumnae and friends through the Women's Leadership and Philanthropy Council. Join us as we strengthen our community and university with this historic endeavor.

Dr. Shirley C. Raines, President Emeritus

In this section, we celebrate women who have given their time, talent, and resources to make the University of Memphis a place of excellence.

Rita SparksRita Sparks exemplifies the power of women's leadership and philanthropy. In 2010, Rita received both the University of Memphis Distinguished Friend Award and the Tennessee Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Philanthropy for her support of higher education.

To read Rita's full profile and see more women like her, visit our Profiles in Philanthropy page by clicking here

Learn More

Women Making History

The Power of Women

Investing in Women

Profiles in Philanthropy

For additional information, please contact: Joanna Curtis

Ph: 901.678.5274


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Last Updated: 3/5/14