University's FedEx Institute of Technology will provide
U of M faculty and staff enhanced research opportunities.
For technology lovers, it certainly will be a treat. For
alumni, friends of the University, community leaders and the
entire University of Memphis campus, it will mean much more:
the beginning of a new era at the U of M.
When the 93,000-square-foot FedEx Institute of Technology
(FIT) officially opens during ceremonies Nov. 19, the U of
M will possess a technology education center unrivaled in
the Mid-South. The institute will be a place where students,
faculty and business leaders will conduct innovative research
of the highest caliber. FIT could one day put the University
on the research level of acclaimed institutes such as MIT.
Alumni are invited to attend the dedication, ribbon cutting
and open house on Nov. 19 at the building site (near the corner
of Central Avenue and Patterson). A gala for CEOs, high-level
donors and other VIPs will end the festivities Nov. 19.
The events of the day will offer something for everyone.
Scheduled to speak at the 11 a.m. dedication are FedEx Corp.
CEO Frederick W. Smith, University President Shirley Raines
and other dignitaries. The official ribbon-cutting immediately
follows the dedication.
Also on Nov. 19, event attendees can tour the facility during
the all-day open house and witness technology demonstrations
that may astound and awe. Match wits with "Auto Tutor,"
a computer with software that allows it to "think"
as a human would. Become immersed in demonstrations and displays
by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Steelcase, ADL Labs and
the U of M's Ground Water Institute, Advanced Learning Center,
Feinstone Center for Genomic Research and Center for Supply
Live music and refreshments served via the facility's Cyber
Cafe will be offered.
"This facility will put us on the map in many, many
ways," says Jim Phillips (BA '73, MBA '76), chair and
executive director of the institute. "We will become
the technology breeding ground of the region.
"It takes a project such as this and a vision we are
now realizing to produce a signature program that will attract
national and international attention," he says.
Favorable exposure of the institute and its capabilities
will help elevate the U of M to a higher-tier ranking of universities
nationwide, University administrators say.
The institute is a $23 million collaboration between the
U of M and FedEx Corp. The shipping giant invested $5 million
in the project, with the remainder coming from city, county
and state governments.
A goal of the institute is to produce a digitally savvy work
force with programs that will prepare U of M students for
the latest high-tech jobs. Interdisciplinary research will
be conducted at the facility, which also will serve as a forum
through which local businesses can collaborate to find solutions
to real-world problems.
Scientists from across campus will be able to access the
latest high-tech tools and have more opportunities for interaction
with off-campus researchers. The entire fourth floor of the
building will house the Center for Intelligent Systems, where
U of M faculty continue to develop the "Auto Tutor"
The institute will include several centers for many new and
ongoing research projects across campus. The Center for Spatial
Analysis will include the Herff College of Engineering's Ground
Water Institute, which is working on ways to solve drinking-water
problems that kill thousands of people around the world each
The Center for Multimedia Arts will help "digitalize"
the entertainment business, while the Center for Life Sciences
will offer a virtual wet lab and nanotechnology.
Development of aviation engineering will be possible in the
Center for Next Generation Transportation. Other areas include
the Center for Digital and Regional Development, the Center
for Supply Chain Management and the Center for Managing Emerging
The institute - hailed as the single largest project in school
history by Dr. Raines - signals the U of M's overwhelming
commitment to cutting-edge research and higher education.
On Nov. 19, come celebrate the future of learning.