The Search for UofM's 13th President

Following President M. David Rudd's announcement in March 2021 that he will be leaving his position within the next year, the University of Memphis has conducted a national search for its 13th president.


Dr. Bill Hardgrave named 13th President of the University of Memphis

Dr. Bill Hardgrave has been named the 13th President of the University of Memphis, the UofM’s Board of Trustees announced Tuesday. Hardgrave served as Auburn University’s Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs since January 2018. He served as dean of Auburn’s Harbert College of Business from August 2010 through December 2017.

Read about President Hardgrave >

Communications & Updates

  • Friday, Nov. 5, 2021 - Statement from Doug Edwards, Chair, University of Memphis Board of Trustees: The University of Memphis Board of Trustees is pleased to have had three highly accomplished and distinguished educational leaders on our campus this week for discussions concerning the position of UofM President. After review and deliberation of the goals of the University, the Executive Committee will move Dr. Bill Hardgrave forward as the recommendation to be considered by the UofM Board of Trustees as the 13th President of the University of Memphis at their meeting on Tuesday, November 9.






  • UofM Presidential Search Update
    October 26, 2021 - As Chair of the Search Committee for the 13th President of the University of Memphis, I wanted to provide an update regarding the search process. The final candidates will be on campus for interviews next week, November 1-5. We invite you to participate, and we look forward to your feedback. Arrangements are underway, and once the schedule is finalized, we will provide information and invitations for in-person and online open session interviews. ... Read full message >


Search Firm

Board of Trustees Chair, Doug Edwards, announced on March 10, 2021, the approval to hire a national search firm to assist with the process.

Parker Executive Search has been selected to assist the University in the presidential search. Their higher education search practice is one of the most highly regarded in the country, providing services to both public and private colleges and universities to aggressively recruit academic leaders. PES has conducted more than 500 successful higher education searches for chancellor, president, vice president, provost, dean, chair and director positions. Learn more about Parker Executive Search >

Search Firm Contacts

Laurie Wilder, President, lwilder@parkersearch.com
Porsha Williams, Vice President, pwilliams@parkersearch.com

Search Committee

A search committee has been appointed to assist in the process. Board of Trustees Vice Chair, Carol Roberts, will chair the committee.

Meet the Committee >

Presidential Search Surveys

This is an important process, and we want to ensure that faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members have their voices heard regarding their needs, interests and vision for the next leader of our institution. Constituents will have various opportunities to be involved. Thank you to everyone who participated in the Presidential Search Feedback Survey and to those who submitted a presidential nomination.

Additional information will follow regarding opportunities to take part in the open session interviews and to submit feedback regarding the final candidates.


The process of the search for our next president will be thoughtful, inclusive and transparent. According to statute 49-7-154 of the Tennessee Code Annotated, "Prior to initiating a search to fill a position listed in subdivision (c)(1), a meeting that is open to the public and subject to the requirements of title 8, chapter 44, part 1, shall be held by the governing board to establish the search process, a timeline, and a statement of qualifications for the position."

  • March 2021 | Hire national search firm
  • April 2021 | Populate search committee to be chaired by Board of Trustees Vice Chair, Carol Roberts
  • May – June 2021 | Host town halls to discuss desired qualities in candidates
  • June – September 2021 | Advertise, identify and recruit candidates for the position. PES to provide updates to the search committee. 
  • October 2021 | The Presidential Search Committee will identify ten (more or less) candidates for PES to schedule initial interviews. From that group, the committee will select up to 4 finalists for campus interviews.
  • October – November 2021 | The University of Memphis campus community and Board of Trustees will conduct on-campus interviews with the finalists.  A special meeting called for the Board of Trustees to select the President.


Dr. M. David RuddUofM President M. David Rudd leaving position

March 10, 2021 - Dr. M. David Rudd, the 12th president of the University of Memphis, will be leaving his position by May 2022. He will transition to faculty in 2023 to continue his research, after a year sabbatical abroad.

Read more about the announcement >



Administration BuildingUofM Board of Trustees Hosts Special-Called Meeting

March 10, 2021 - The Board of Trustees hosted a special-called meeting on March 10 to discuss the presidential search process which may include the search committee composition and the use of an executive search firm. Meeting minutes will be reviewed at the next board meeting on June 2.

Watch Recording of Meeting >