Dear Campus Community:

On the heels of one of the most divisive national elections in our history, our campus community continues to demonstrate the very best in American democracy, a commitment to free speech, civility and recognition that our diversity is our strength. Several student groups have offered a voice and demonstrated, and done so, in a thoughtful and effective manner.

We will continue our critical conversation series, with an upcoming session likely focusing on the contentious nature of the recent election. Regardless of individual political leanings, this is our campus and our community; we define its environment. Thank you for your commitment to our core values and for living those core values daily. It makes me proud to be a part of the University of Memphis.

If you have questions, concerns or need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me or our leadership team.

Warm Regards,

M. David Rudd
President | Distinguished University Professor

Faculty Staff and Students:

Last week, a TIF (Tax Increment Financing) district was approved for an area west of campus, the University District (UD). The TIF area covers most of the properties on South Highland from Poplar to Park Avenue, to include much of the Southern Avenue-Highland corridor (see TIF map). The establishment of the TIF district is critical for continued growth and development for the University and our adjacent neighborhoods.

The UD TIF application was submitted by the University Neighborhoods District Corporation (UNDC) as a means to improve the area surrounding the University by promoting student walkability, lighting, safety, engaging students in community life and retaining talent in Memphis. Sustained vibrancy of our adjacent neighborhoods is important to UofM student success efforts including our ability to recruit, retain and, ultimately, graduate students.

TIF initiatives provide funding for infrastructure improvements in the district based on the difference (the increment) between existing property values and increases due to economic activity. Funding is based on a formula where more than 75% of the increment stays with the city and county for general use. Over the next twenty years, the TIF project is expected to generate approximately $20 million for district infrastructure improvements. We expect the TIF district will most likely lead to even more development in the UD in the coming years.

Revitalization initiatives funded by the TIF initiative will include safety improvements, railroad quiet zones, road and sidewalk improvements, crosswalks, and traffic calming measures. Specific, planned improvements include better lighting, landscaping, parking enhancements, bicycle racks and public seating to include benches.

The TIF district will help us maintain the momentum we have established and move the University and our community forward to becoming an even greater place to study, live, work and relax.

M. David Rudd
President | Distinguished University Professor