A Message to Our Alumni from President Raines
- Celebrating our 90th anniversary
dawned, no one could predict how historic it would be. Within
four months, the Titanic would sail into eternity. Arizona
and New Mexico would become new states, the last for almost
50 years. The Girl Scouts of America would be founded, and
Woodrow Wilson would be elected president. The ill-fated Scott
would reach the South Pole, but would not return. Olympic
athlete Jim Thorpe would be crowned "the greatest athlete
in the world." Harvard would share the NCAA football championship
with Penn State.
And, on the eastern fringes of Memphis, a new state college
for the education of teachers would open its doors to its
first students - West Tennessee Normal School.
Since that September 90 years ago, the world has changed
tremendously, and so has that school. Its name has changed
several times - from school, to college, to university - to
reflect its burgeoning status. Its campus has grown to accommodate
more than 20,000 students. And its mission has expanded from
solely that of educating teachers for Tennessee schools to
providing a comprehensive university that offers learning,
research and service to the state, the nation, and the world.
I became president of The University of Memphis just
before it entered its ninth decade. Now that I've been here
for a year and have seen first-hand the strengths - recognized
and potential - that exist here, I believe The University
of Memphis is about to enter one of its most historic and
most productive periods. Our faculty, staff, alumni, benefactors,
and friends from throughout the community constitute our greatest
collective strength. They, in turn, lead and support the academic
programs at the University, some of which already have outstanding
reputations, while others are on the verge of national recognition.
We continue to increase our curriculum, for example, the Kemmons
Wilson School of Hospitality and Resort Management, and to
enhance our research and teaching capabilities, as demonstrated
by the FedEx Technology Institute. From bachelor's degrees
through post-doctorate study, we offer current and future
students a quality education in a forward-looking academic
As alumni, you are aware of the funding issues that have
plagued education, particularly higher education, in Tennessee.
Nevertheless, my hopes for the future of the University have
not waned since I took office in July 2001. In fact, because
of the loyalty and determination of the University community,
and because of the support of our alumni, and business and
civic leaders, my enthusiasm about the future of The University
of Memphis is even greater than when I first became president.
Alumni support, through viable alumni organizations,
is a cornerstone for the success of any university. I'm proud
to say that our alumni support is getting stronger every day.
Our Alumni Association leaders are developing ideas and programs
to maintain closer contact with our alums locally, regionally,
and nationally. I look forward to meeting alumni locally and
around the country, whenever the opportunity arises. In the
meantime, we will keep you informed about happenings at your
university through this e-newsletter. I am proud to be president
of your University, and I will do my utmost to ensure that
the pride you have in The University of Memphis is justly
On behalf of Alumni Association President Richard Glassman,
we invite you to contact the Alumni Association by e-mail
or by phone at 1-800-678-8729 or (901) 678-5314 to get involved.
We need you.
The Alumni Associationis sponsoring a bus trip to the Tiger
football game at Ole Miss on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2002.
For more information, please contact (901) 678-5314 or e-mail
The journalism department is holding an awards
banquet to honor alumni on Thursday, Sept. 19, at the Racquet
Club. A new award named in honor of Dr. Herbert Lee Williams,
first chairman of the department, will be presented posthumously
to Ken Sossaman for his career and accomplishments
in advertising. In addition, two alumni will receive the Charles
E. Thornton Outstanding Journalism Alumni Award, named in
honor of the graduate and journalist killed in Afghanistan
while on assignment. For more information, contact Kini Kedigh
Plumlee at (901) 682-0264 or e-mail Kkplumlee@theatrememphis.org.
Look for the Fall 2002 Continuing Education schedule
this Sunday, Aug. 18, online at http://www.memphis.edu/continuinged
and in The Commercial Appeal.