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Always a Tiger

March 10, 2021

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students:

The past year has been a difficult one, for our campus, our City, our country and each of us personally. It has also brought into sharp focus those we love, the lives we live and the importance of how we spend the time we have. I have been in Memphis for eight years now, serving my first year as provost and the past seven as president, with all eight years marked by a rich array of challenges. When originally asked how long I would serve at the senior level, I said it would not be longer than a decade. Earlier today, I informed our Trustees this will be my last year as president. As a tenured member of the faculty, I have decided to return to the important work of teaching, scientific research and clinical care I set aside 15 years ago when I transitioned to senior administration. I shared with our Trustees that I am willing to stay on as long as needed to allow for a successful national search and provide for an orderly transition in 2022. 

The University of Memphis has never been stronger across all metrics, including student and faculty outcomes, our financial position, a growing national presence and national rankings of our academic programs and the University as whole. Given our momentum and positive trajectory, this is a good time for a transition in leadership. Over the course of the coming year, I will work to continue to address issues related to the impact of the global pandemic on faculty, staff and students and also complete a number of projects already well underway (i.e., our Carnegie R1 agenda, Student Wellness Center, Mike Rose Aquatic Center, Scheidt Family Music Center, STEM Building, Porter Leath/UofM Early Childhood Academy and our new partnership with Meharry Medical College). It has been a privilege to work alongside such dedicated people in service to our campus and community. I am proud of the work we have done together, the progress we have made, the positive impact we have had on our students and community, the lives we have helped change for the better and the foundation we have built that has positioned our University for success for years to come. I am grateful to our Board of Trustees for their service to our University and our community. I am thankful for our exceptional faculty, staff and students and the remarkable support of our community. Universities thrive on innovation and new ideas. New leadership will bring new ideas, new energy and new voices for the next step in advancing our University. I look forward to contributing to our campus, our community and our City in new ways. 

Once a president, always a Tiger.

Sincerely,

Dr. M. David Rudd