Dear UofM faculty and staff:

With the end of the spring semester, I would like to personally thank you for the work you've done over the past academic year. This has been an eventful year with many successes to celebrate. Last weekend we awarded a total of 2,416 degrees, including 57 doctorates. University of Memphis faculty, students, staff, alumni and community partners provided 602,904 hours of community service last year, exceeding the goal of 500,000 hours for our Year of Service initiative. The project earned $500,000 in scholarships for UofM students. We continue to create new initiatives to help students accelerate their progress to degree completion. We recently announced several important community partnerships including the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, St. Jude, and the Memphis Crime Commission.

While much has been accomplished, much more remains to be done. I am proud to have the opportunity to serve with all of you. As we prepare for the transition to independent governing boards with the FOCUS Act, we will continue to focus on the reasons we're here – student success, knowledge creation, research innovation and community service.

Thank you for upholding academic quality and high programmatic standards at the UofM. Your dedication is reflected as outcomes continue to rise, students continue to achieve their goals, and our scientific and creative contributions help make our world better. Also, many thanks for your ongoing support of our University's mission. Together you shape the caring culture that results in Tennessee becoming a national leader in higher education.

Best wishes for an enjoyable summer. I look forward to sharing many accomplishments in the next academic year.

M. David Rudd
President | Distinguished University Professor