UofM Strategically Positioning for the Future

It's true, 2018 was a banner year for the University of Memphis on campus, in the classroom, in the community and in athletics. We were able to move the needle on several key initiatives from construction on the long-awaited Pedestrian Cable Bridge to a record breaking year for academic fundraising. The momentum is continuously rising. We are unprecedented strides to strategically position us as one of the nation's top urban research institutions. <Read More>

Recently, UofM leaders partnered together to create a strategic plan that will drive the direction of decades to come. This ongoing process is designed to create a clear strategic vision that outlines the University's mission, vision and values to position the UofM for future growth while supporting the overall goal to become a Carnegie RI designation for robust, cutting-edge research activity.

Here's a brief overview of the results:
Our Vision: The University of Memphis is an internationally recognized, urban public research university preparing students for success in a diverse, innovative global environment.

Our Mission: We provide the highest quality education by focusing on research and service benefitting local and global communities.

Our Highest priorities:
• Student Success, Access & Affordability
• Academic Excellence
• Research & Innovation
• Diversity & Inclusion
• Community, Alumni & External Collaborations
• Brand Enhancement & Global Visibility
• Sustainability

Click here to learn more about the University of Memphis' strategic plan.

Recent Gains in Student Access and Affordability

Student success, access and affordability is the University's highest priority. Recent initiatives have focused on making the University of Memphis a place where education is not a financial burden for any student and their family while ensuring that our students have the best possible chance for success.

Last fall, UofM President M. David Rudd announced we recently achieved a new milestone, a 51.6 percent six-year graduation rate.

"Our hard work is paying off. We are seeing steady, consistent gains in our six-year graduation rate," President Rudd said. "Our 51.6 percent rate for 2018 is not only a new record for the UofM, but it now exceeds the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools' national average for public universities."

Surpassing this monumental benchmark means the University can focus on achieving a 60 percent graduation rate over the next five years. Another strategic priority is keeping the UofM affordable and accessible for all students.

"The single most important measure the University of Memphis can take to improve retention and completion rates is to contain student costs," said UofM President M. David Rudd. "We have studied the challenges our students face in considerable depth and detail. The single greatest challenge is financial, and we're working diligently to help control that cost so more students can access and complete higher education."

This year, the University of Memphis was the only university in the State of Tennessee to freeze tuition for the 2018-2019 academic year.

Community Partnership Combats Dangerous Mid-South Drowning Rates- Mike Rose Natatorium

Tennessee has one of the highest drowning rates in the country, and in Memphis, drowning is the second-leading cause of injury-related death. Underserved, children of color are almost twice as likely as their white peers to be counted in these tragic statistics. Access to affordable swim instruction and safety training is essentially unavailable to a large and vulnerable section of Memphis.

Through a partnership between the University of Memphis, Memphis Tiger Swimming, Splash Mid-South, YMCA of Memphis and the Midsouth and the Rose Foundation, the one-of-a-kind Mike Rose Natatorium will be developed. The goal is to develop a robust aquatics program in the heart of Memphis to promote water safety and enrich community health among diverse populations. This initiative will renovate the University's existing swimming facility, for the first time in 40 years, and will resolve existing capacity and structural issues to greatly benefit the Memphis community for generations to come.

"The renovated natatorium will prove a wonderful complement to the new Center for Wellness and Fitness, which will offer recreational swimming among other health and fitness that are integrated into the University's core academic mission," UofM President M. David Rudd said.

The Mike Rose Natatorium was spearheaded by the Rose Family Foundation's leading commitment of $1 million to the $17 million project. Mike Rose was a local entrepreneur, philanthropist and long-time supporter of UofM athletics and Memphis Tiger Swimming because of his belief in sports' ability to shape character and develop leaders.

"Prior to his passing, I spoke with Mike Rose about his desire to have a natatorium that truly meets the needs of our community," President Rudd added. "I am committed to achieving this goal and I am excited that The Rose Family Foundation has made it their mission to work with key organizations in Memphis to make Mike's vision a reality."

Gabrielle Rose, executive director of The Rose Foundation said, "The Rose Foundation is proud to stand behind this project and work on behalf of making my father's last philanthropic wish for Memphis a reality."

Among the project's goals are: providing free or low-cost swim lessons to 300 underserved children, led by Splash Mid-South; introducing swimming to low-income and youth of color to improve the diversity of Memphis Tiger Swimming; offering free CPR classes to UofM students so they can share their skills with the community; generating revenue for the local economy from visitors who attend swimming competitions; and enhancing community relationships through research on drowning prevention.

Planned renovations include increasing the pool length, improved mechanical and water handling systems, handicap access, upgraded locker rooms and expanded seating. The increased seating will make the facility appropriate for training and for regional swimming competitions. Renovations are expected to take about 18 months to complete.

If your organization would like to partner to make the Mike Rose Natatorium a reality, contact Tiffany Legington Graham.