In This Issue: Summer 2024

Dear Tiger Family,

It has now been more than a year since we launched our Ascend strategic plan. When you look back at all that has occurred in that time, we can take great pride in several accomplishments.

We have further enhanced our research efforts as a Carnegie R1 institution, reaching an institutional record of $86 million in research awards last year. This remarkable achievement, which significantly surpassed the previous record of $50 million, is a direct result of the high-quality research ecosystem that our University has cultivated.

Our University Schools system continues to rank among the best in the state, and we are now working to scale that model following the recent passage of the Innovative School District Act in the Tennessee General Assembly. This legislation authorizes University Schools to become the first Innovative School District in Tennessee as part of what is already the only PreK to PhD educational system in the state.

In athletics, renovations to Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium are underway behind $50 million of support from the Frederick W. Smith Family. Through the vision of FedEx, our student-athletes are the deserved beneficiaries of a transformational name, image and likeness (NIL) program that includes a $5 million per year commitment over the next five years.

While these are impressive, attention-grabbing accomplishments that we can proudly point to over the past year, the reality is most of the work in that first year of launching a strategic plan is not seen. But it is vital. We are laying the foundation for the University to achieve long-term success as a nationally recognized public research institution in a rapidly changing higher-education environment.

That foundational work will allow us to continue developing the leaders of tomorrow at the University of Memphis — an essential goal of the strategic plan. That ties into this edition of the UofM Magazine, which specifically highlights a group of our alumni who have gone on to become the leaders of tomorrow through government leadership in our city, state and country. We invite you to enjoy the stories of how the UofM helped shape their career, as they continue to advocate for our institution and serve as inspiration for our students who aim to follow a similar path.

Thank you for your support!


Bill Hardgrave

President Bill Hardgrave