Sen. Blackburn Visits FedEx Institute of Technology at UofM

UofM President Bill Hardgrave and U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn

April 5, 2024 — Supply chains, semiconductors, artificial intelligence and quantum computing were among the topics discussed this week as U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee visited the University of Memphis on Wednesday to talk all things tech at the FedEx Institute of Technology.

“How we can create better and faster is the overarching goal so we can ensure the standards setting stays in the U.S.,” Sen. Blackburn told a room of UofM leaders and academics, including President Bill Hardgrave, Executive Vice President for Research and Information Dr. Jasbir Dhaliwal and Fogelman College of Business & Economics Dean Bobby Garrett. “Memphis is one of the nation’s primary hubs when it comes to logistics, and the University of Memphis plays an equally important role when it comes to innovation, research and development and protecting intellectual property.”

A member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Sen. Blackburn is a co-sponsor of S. 229: Securing Semiconductor Supply Chains Act of 2023

As a top-tier research institution, the University of Memphis is at the forefront of semiconductor research and the Next Generation Supply Chain, as Dr. Cody Behles pointed out in his presentation to Sen. Blackburn. He also shared that the Division of Research & Innovation, in partnership with the Fogelman College of Business & Economics, recently launched the Next Generation Supply Chain Technologies and Innovation Challenge to advance focused research in this area. Winners of the challenge will be announced at the end of April.

Dr. Firouzeh Sabri, professor and chair of the Department of Physics and Materials Science, brought the science to life with a semiconductor show-and-tell for Sen. Blackburn’s visit, offering the senator an up-close look at a semiconductor while sharing about the innovation taking place in real time at the UofM, all stemming from this foundational technology.

Semiconductors and the new projects originating from new semiconductor ecosystem projects will continue to be a key driver of future technologies shaping our world, everything from artificial intelligence to advanced wireless networks and quantum computing, according to Dr. Sabri.

Sen. Blackburn was able to learn about how the University of Memphis is attracting and building a skilled workforce in this vital area, made possible by the researchers of today laying the groundwork for the next generation of STEM scholars.


Jennifer Godwin
Director of Media and Public Relations
(O) 901.678.4822 (M) 501.529.7482


Share this article