U of M News
U of M Will Award Degrees in Dual Commencement Ceremonies May 3 University News
For release: May 1, 2008

For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey

The University of Memphis will award an honorary doctorate to Frederick W. Smith during spring Commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 3, at FedExForum. U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen will be the featured speaker at both the morning and afternoon ceremonies, when the University will award a total of 1,650 degrees, including 36 doctorates.

In a 10 a.m. ceremony, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Communication and Fine Arts, the University College, and the School of Audiology and Speech Language Pathology will confer degrees.

At 2 p.m., commencement will be held for the Fogelman College of Business & Economics, the College of Education, the Herff College of Engineering, and the Loewenberg School of Nursing.  Smith will receive his doctorate at the afternoon session.

The Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law will hold its graduation Sunday, May 4, at 3 p.m. at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts.

Smith is chairman, president, and CEO of FedEx Corporation, a $37 billion global transportation and business services and logistics company. He provides strategic direction for all FedEx operating companies, including FedEx Services, FedEx Express, FedEx Freight, and FedEx Kinko’s. These companies serve more than 220 countries and territories with more than 671 aircraft and 75,000 vehicles.  Some 290,000 team members worldwide handle more than 7.5 million shipments each business day.

Smith has served on the boards of several large public companies as well as the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Mayo Foundation boards. He is a member of the Business Roundtable and the CATO Institute and is co-chairman of the Energy Security Leadership Council.  Born in Marks, Miss., Smith is a 1966 graduate of Yale University.

FedEx invested $5 million in the FedEx Institute of Technology at the U of M, which opened in 2003. The 93,000-square-foot facility is a state-of-the-art academic entity that supports research and innovation, notably the development of new ideas, approaches, technologies, and educational programs that address real-world challenges. Since the Institute opened, FedEx has pledged another $5 million to support the teaching and research being done there. In 2002, FedEx donated $250,000 to launch the Institute’s Center for Supply Chain Management.

A fourth-generation Memphian, Cohen has dedicated his life to public service. Since 2007, he has served as U.S. Representative from the state’s 9th Congressional District. After graduating from the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in 1973, Cohen began his career as legal adviser to the Memphis Police Department.  In 1978 he was elected to the Shelby County Commission and served there for two years. While a commissioner, he was instrumental in the creation of The Med, a community-funded regional hospital.

Cohen has also been an interim Shelby County General Sessions Court judge and a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. In 1984, he was elected to the Tennessee Senate, an office he held for 24 years. During his tenure, Cohen fought tirelessly to establish the Tennessee Lottery to help fund college scholarships. Since it was created in 2004, the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship has provided more than $800 million for students continuing their education at the college level.

The University of Memphis, founded in 1912, today is a major metropolitan research university committed to excellence in education and service to the community.  One of 45 Tennessee Board of Regents campuses, the U of M offers 15 bachelor’s degrees in more than 50 majors and 70 concentrations, master’s degrees in more than 45 subject areas, and doctoral degrees in 21 disciplines, as well as the juris doctorate (law) and specialist in education degrees.  Its park-like suburban campus is home to approximately 20,000 students and 2,500 faculty and staff members.  The University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.  More information about the U of M is available online at:  www.memphis.edu


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