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University of Memphis Empowering the Dream Campaign Exceeds Goal

For release: July 1, 2013
For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey, 901-678-2843

The University of Memphis has surpassed its goal for the Empowering the Dream Centennial Campaign, raising more than $256 million.

The Empowering the Dream campaign was co-chaired by Charles and Judy Burkett. Charles Burkett graduated from the U of M in 1973 and is the former president of First Tennessee Bank.

“This is a historic day for the University of Memphis,” said President Shirley Raines, who retires tomorrow. “We have exceeded our ambitious goal of raising more than $250 million with the energy and generosity of our alumni, friends, and civic and corporate partners. Our donors’ campaign contributions show that they value the learning experiences, economic opportunities, research endeavors and outreach activities that the University of Memphis contributes to our region and to the state. Our students and their success are the future of Tennessee.”

About 73 percent of the $256 million raised is supporting students through scholarships, graduate fellowships and assistantships, and annual operating funds for crucial programs across campus. About 18 percent is going toward new and renovated facilities. These include the new Community Health Building, which will house the Loewenberg School of Nursing, the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and the Memphis Speech and Hearing Center; a new music center for the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music; a newly renovated building for the Crews Ventures Lab; the downtown Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law; and new and renovated athletic facilities. The remaining funds are directed toward faculty support through professorships and chairs.

At a celebration event last weekend, it was announced that donors contributed an additional $113,300 toward scholarships named for Raines and her family.

“The heart of our campaign aimed to maximize investment in scholarships, facilities, and faculty support to build academic excellence that translates to economic and workforce development for our state and region,” said Julie Johnson, vice president for Advancement.

“The Empowering the Dream Centennial Campaign provided an opportunity for us to communicate that private support will continue to play a crucial role in the University’s ability to recruit and retain talented students and faculty,” added Bobby Prince, associate vice president for Development. “Everyone in the community, regardless if they graduated from the University of Memphis, has a vested interest in its success. I thank all the donors who stepped forward with gifts large and small. Their investments will continue to have a powerful impact that extends beyond the boundaries of our campus.”

For more information about giving to the University, visit

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