Dear Campus Community:

I spent the last two days in Nashville and attended Governor Haslam's state of the state address Monday evening. The Governor's budget recommendations for the University of Memphis are favorable, with a total of $5.4M in new formula funding ($817K in the outcomes portion and $4.6M as UofM's share of the $50M in new formula funding). The Governor also recommended $5.3M in capital maintenance funds. It was clear from the Governor's comments that there is an expectation to minimize tuition increases across the state. As you know, we have shown a strong commitment to containing student costs and tuition increases, with no tuition increase two years ago and an increase of less than 3% last year. It is important to note that a number of bills have been filled that would cap tuition increases at TN colleges and universities. I'll keep you updated as these bills move through the legislative process.

As you also know, Governor Haslam submitted legislation providing for local governing boards for TBR universities. There appears to be broad support for this bill, and we have every expectation it will pass, allowing the University of Memphis to establish its own governing board in 2017. We are well into the evaluation and preparation process. I shared the legislation with deans, chairs, directors and the Faculty Senate a few weeks ago. Provost Weddle-West and I have offered to meet with various constituencies as needed or requested to discuss the transition. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

As a reminder, we are also pursuing additional funding for our Lambuth campus, along with a supplemental budget request for the Memphis Research Consortium (our partnership with UT Health Science Center and St. Jude). Again, I'll keep you updated as information becomes available. Thank you for your continued hard work for and dedication to our students, university and the City of Memphis. Our positive growth in formula dollars is certainly the direct consequence of this hard work.

Best wishes for an enjoyable and productive spring semester.

M. David Rudd | President
Distinguished University Professor