The University of Memphis was founded under the support of the General Education Bill, enacted by the Tennessee Legislature in 1909. The institution was originally known as West Tennessee State Normal School and opened its door September 10, 1912, with Dr. Seymour A. Mynders as president.
Students in the first classes selected blue and gray as the school colors. Tradition holds that the colors, those of the opposing armies during the Civil War, were chosen in commemoration of the reuniting of the country after that divisive conflict.
Military Education at the University of Memphis began in 1982. The Military Science office was originally located the Health Center. As the university expanded the Army ROTC building was relocated to the former athletic dormitories in Hayden Hall, where it is presently located. Army ROTC has been an important part of the university through community outreach and creating better citizens through a program that emphasizes the execution of one's civic and individual duties.
While on campus, the Army ROTC program has sent many Cadets to Army Specialty Schools to learn new skills and enhance leadership, such as the Airborne School and Air Assault School, and many Cadets to Romania, India, Brazil, Germany, Morocco, and other countries through it Cultural Understand Language Proficiency Program (CULP), and to China through its Study Abroad program.
Even with busy schedules and difficult training, the Cadets are able to maintain a contracted battalion average GPA of 3.4 and a contracted battalion average Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) score of 260. Additionally, these Cadets perform well at the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC), which all Cadets participate in at the end of their junior year, with 10% of Cadets from this program receiving a rating of Excellent, and 20% of Cadets from this program placing in the top 10%. Because of all of these achievements, 90% of Cadets receive either their first or second branch choice when the time comes for them to commission and join the Regular Army, National Guard, or Reserve.