About President M. David Rudd
M. David Rudd is President of the University of Memphis, a position he has held since May of 2014. As a Distinguished University Professor of Psychology, he also continues funded research, along with his affiliation with the National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah, as co-founder and scientific director. Before transitioning to his current position, he served as Provost for over a year in Memphis. Prior to moving to Memphis, he was dean of the College of Social & Behavioral Science at the University of Utah.
Student success has been an early focus of his tenure in Memphis, with significant improvements in retention and graduation numbers. He spearheaded an effort to create a student success center, developed the university's first integrated enrollment, retention, and graduation plan, created a one-stop admissions center, developed targeted degree pathways for all majors, implemented an Academic Coaching for Excellence initiative, along with efforts to improve the effectiveness of student academic advising.
He has made a strong commitment to containing higher education costs and lowering student debt, holding tuition flat during his first year, the first such move in over three decades at the University of Memphis, followed by two years of increases below three percent and well below historic university averages. Given dramatic changes in higher education funding, Dr. Rudd also initiated efforts to improve efficiency across all university divisions, including the development and implementation of a new budget model that allows for greater local control, direction and reinforces entrepreneurial creativity. Institutional effectiveness, across all divisions of the university have been a central focus as well, with creation of the university's first institutional effectiveness council.
Efforts to grow community partnerships and engagement have been very successful during his first two years, with creative partnerships with the Memphis Symphony, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Shelby County Schools, and Methodist Healthcare. His first year saw a record $37M raised, with second year numbers surpassing that total and exceeding $38M raised. Including the current year, a total of over $500M is being invested on campus and in the university neighborhood district, with over $140M of private funds. Dr. Rudd launched a national visibility campaign in his first year in partnership with FedEx Corporation, an effort that is already garnering attention. More UofM academic programs are currently ranked (across multiple ranking systems) than at any time during the university's 104-year history.
Dr. Rudd has been a strong advocate for growing the university's research mission. During his first year, the UofM was successful in landing a National Institute of Health Center of Excellence in mobile health technology (covered in the President's Report), with ten nationally ranked university partners. The Center's first year has been a great success, with a subsequent $60M grant submission and an impressive array of scientific publications.
Under Dr. Rudd's leadership, the University of Memphis footprint has continued to expand. The $10 million state-of-the-art Laurie-Walton Family Basketball Center opened on the Park Avenue Campus and work has begun on the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music $40-million, 40,000-square-foot music center. The University will be constructing a $35 million project that will include an iconic cable-stayed pedestrian bridge that will soar over the railroad tracks and will include a six-level parking deck as well as a pedestrian mall that aligns with the land-bridge. The UofM is currently in the design phase for construction of a new Student Wellness Recreation and Fitness Center.
Dr. Rudd received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University. He completed his doctoral training at the University of Texas-Austin and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in cognitive therapy at the Beck Institute in Philadelphia under the direction of Aaron T. Beck. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Professional Psychology and a Fellow of three professional societies, including the American Psychological Association (Division 12 and Division 29), the International Association of Suicide Research, and the Academy of Cognitive Therapy (a founding fellow). He was recently elected a Distinguished Practitioner and Scholar of the National Academies of Practice in Psychology. In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Rudd is an active researcher with over 200 publications and more than 6500 citations. His scientific work was recently featured in Science News Magazine (2016).
He recently completed a $1.97 million clinical trial for suicidal soldiers at Fort Carson, Colorado. He has garnered over $18 million in grant funding as a principal or co-principal investigator. He currently serves on the Institute of Medicine/National Academies of Science Committee on Assessment of Resiliency and Prevention Programs for Mental and Behavioral Health in Service Members and their Families. He has authored several books, including Treating Suicidal Behavior (2001, Guilford, 2nd printing in 2004) and Suicide Science: Expanding the Boundaries (2001, Kluwer Academic Publishers), The Assessment and Management of Suicidality: A Pocket Guide (Professional Resource Press, 2006, The Interpersonal Theory of Suicide (with Joiner, VanOrden, & Witte) from the American Psychological Association Press, and the recently published Managing Suicide Risk in Primary Care (with Craig Bryan). His research has been recognized with awards both national and international. He has served as a consultant to many organizations nationally and internationally, including the United States Air Force, the U.S. Army, the Department of Defense and the Beijing Suicide Prevention and Research Center.
Dr. Rudd serves on a number of editorial boards, is past Chair of the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists, past President of the Texas Psychological Association, past President of Division 12 Section VII of the American Psychological Association, past Past-President of the American Association of Suicidology, a previous members of the APA Council of Representatives, and currently serves on the board of the PDV Foundation. Dr. Rudd has testified seven times before the U.S. Congress, both House and Senate, on issues related to veterans and suicide.