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May 2002

Since our first newsletter was sent April 15, we've received overwhelmingly positive responses from you! We appreciate all your feedback and encourage you to continue to send comments and suggestions to enews@memphis.edu.

Many of the messages we received were requests to change e-mail addresses, names, and other contact information. We have now made it easier for you to update this information in our records - the e-newsletter sign-up form also serves as an information update form!

To make changes to your name or mailing address, go to the e-newsletter sign-up form, http://uofm.aristotle.net/enews, and fill it out with your new information.

To update your e-mail address, first go to the "unsubscribe" page, http://uofm.aristotle.net/enews/unsubscribe.asp, and enter your old e-mail address. Then follow the link to the registration form and sign up with your new e-mail address.

Spring Commencement Produces 1,463 New Alums
U of M Day in Jackson is May 18
Library to Benefit from Sparks Generosity
U of M Faces Budget Cuts, Tuition Increase

Spring Commencement Produces 1,463 New Alums

More than 1,400 graduates moved their tassels on May 5 at Spring Commencement held at The Pyramid. President Shirley C. Raines conveyed 961 undergraduate degrees, 406 graduate degrees (including 21 doctoral degrees) and 96 juris doctor degrees.

Crossing the stage were 58 summa cum laude, 86 magna cum laude and 132 cum laude graduates.

Dr. Donald K. Carson, vice president for student affairs and vice provost for enrollment services at The U of M, was the featured speaker.

Carson recently announced he plans to retire in December after 28 years as a U of M administrator. He has also served as vice president and dean of students, and twice served as interim athletics director for the University.

U of M Day in Jackson is May 18

Diamond Jaxx logoAlumni and friends in West Tennessee are invited to join us for U of M Day at the Diamond Jaxx game this Saturday, May 18, in Jackson, TN. Festivities begin at 6:30 p.m., and the first pitch is scheduled to be thrown out at 6:40 p.m by Tiger soccer coach Richie Grant. The game starts at 7:05 p.m., and a fireworks show will cap the evening.

Tickets are available at the gate for $4 berm (lawn) seats, $5 general admission, $7 reserved seats, $8 box seats, $9 field box seats and $10 club seats.

Be sure to visit our tent located in front of the stadium so we can say hello. Wear your blue and gray. We hope to see you there!

Library to Benefit from Sparks Generosity

McWherter libraryThe University of Memphis Libraries have been named the recipient of a $300,000 gift from the Willard Sparks family in honor of the commitment to education demonstrated by Dr. Shirley Raines, inaugurated last month as the 11th president of the University.

Sparks said he, his wife, Rita, and his family were making the donation "in support of the pursuit of knowledge" and in honor of Dr. Raines' leadership at The U of M.

Sparks chairs the University's Board of Visitors, a group of local leaders who serve in an advisory capacity to the president. He is founder and chairman of the board of Sparks Companies Inc., an agricultural information and consulting firm based in Memphis. He is also part owner of Refco Inc., a futures commission merchant; and Vining-Sparks IBG, a general securities firm.

U of M Faces Budget Cuts, Tuition Increase

As you are probably aware, the State of Tennessee faces a daunting fiscal crisis. The legislature must close a $1.2 billion gap between current funding levels and current revenue collections. Lawmakers are deciding between raising additional revenue and cutting spending to close the gap. Without additional state revenue, around $10 million could be cut from The U of M's operating budget, and our students would face another double-digit percentage tuition increase.

In the state budget, higher education is considered discretionary spending, meaning there are no mandated spending levels. Lawmakers have the authority to reduce spending levels for higher education that they do not have with other programs.

Stakes for The U of M are high. In addition to the tuition increase, budget cuts will affect the University by

  • making it more difficult to recruit and retain top-notch faculty, meaning fewer classes and an increase in "brain-drain"
  • forcing enrollment reductions, including popular program areas such as nursing and business
  • delaying much-needed building repairs
Regardless of your view on any particular tax proposal, it is vital that legislators understand the critical need to avoid fund cuts for higher education. If you would like to express your views to your state legislators, you can find contact info for members of the State Senate at http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/senate/members/smembers.htm and the State House at http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/house/members/hmembers.htm.

Copyright (C) 2002 The University of Memphis Alumni Association.
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