Dear Campus Community:

I hope your transition into 2017 and the spring semester has been a smooth one. As you are aware, the 2017 Tennessee Legislature will begin with the Governor's State of the State Address Monday evening. Our new governing board members will participate in confirmation hearings next week as well. The target date for our first Board of Trustee meeting is March 17th, immediately following SACSCOC review and approval of our governing substantive change request.

The University of Memphis has a number of significant requests being considered by Governor Haslam and the legislature during this session. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission has already recommended the governor and legislature fund our new music performance facility ($40M). We are also pursuing funds for capital improvements at our Lambuth campus, along with requests for additional funding for the Memphis Research Consortium, and creation of the Emerging Research University Fund (ERUF). As was shared in an earlier communication, the goal of the ERUF is to provide additional funds to move the UofM from Carnegie II to Carnegie I status, including funds to expand doctoral programs and faculty positions. We will also be pursuing $10M in private funding to support this effort, a campaign that will launch in the next few months.

Given our aspirations to become a Carnegie I research university, it is critical for Governor Haslam, our trustees, and legislators to understand our unique mission and contributions. Accordingly, we have initiated efforts to familiarize them with the breadth and depth of research on our campus. Senator Gresham (Chair of the Education Committee) was on campus last week. Her visit included research briefings by some of our outstanding faculty. In addition, Senator Gresham agreed to allow us time in Nashville for faculty to speak to the full committee. We will expand and intensify these efforts in the coming months. Thank you in advance to all those supporting and assisting this effort. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for our legislature to understand the unique contributions of the UofM.

Although we are optimistic heading into the legislative session, we will not know results for several months. I will keep you updated as the session moves along. Again, best wishes on a productive and enjoyable spring semester.

Warm Regards,

M. David Rudd
President | Distinguished University Professor