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rudd grover cook

By now you will have heard the news that Michael W. Cook, founder and CEO of SouthernSun Asset Management, and his wife Jennifer, recently committed a generous $1 million gift for development and operation of a new, state-of-the-art finance trading lab in the Fogelman College of Business and Economics. Included in this agreement is a $500,000 matching pledge, which will bring the total endowment to $1.5 million.

I found Michael’s recent remarks in recognition of his gift inspirational, challenging the U of M to pursue greatness, and offering a unique perspective of hope critical to our work.  Here is the text of Michael’s remarks:

“I am grateful for this recognition; it is an honor and, as is true of any honor one receives, achieved as a result of the tireless efforts and sacrifices of others.  From my wife and children, to those with whom I work each and every day as well as those who have gone before us to show us the way.

As Jennifer said to me earlier today, “we never knew it would look like this—we worked, we sweated, we prayed—a lot, and we worked some more—we are fortunate above all people that it looks like this for now.”  We are enthusiastic about the opportunity to be a part of what not only we but others also, believe is something special in the works here at The University of Memphis.

As a native Memphian, but not a University of Memphis alumnus, I’ve likely suffered from a bit of incredulity for the past 57 years.  It has so oft times seemed as though the University was saddled with a perpetual inferiority complex-- a sense in which, as many thought, as the City of Memphis goes, so goes the University of Memphis.

In 1937 Eleanor Roosevelt wrote in her diary, “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Our family is convinced from the vision and leadership of Dean Grover to that of his colleagues across other U of M colleges, and from President Brad Martin to our new President Dr. Rudd, there is no consent.

What we see today leads us to conclude that going forward, as The University of Memphis goes, so goes the City of Memphis.

We believe that new financial analytics and trading lab offers the opportunity to be:

The Epicenter of Innovation and the Talisman for our College, our University and our City with its rich heritage in finance—

And maybe one day, the model for public institutions of higher learning across the country to follow.

One of my favorite writers, philosophers and mathematicians Blaise Pascal wrote: “ In any picture of a life laid out before us, there are abrupt moments of pivotal formation and gradual phases of transformation.  It is a paradox that insight seems to grow gradually and yet it also seems to arrive in overpowering moments of abruptness.” I think this is one of those moments, one of those times  here at this university and at this college, and we are so blessed to be a part of it.

Thank you for being a part of this special day for our family.”

This is a gift that provides a solid foundation for an innovative, cutting-edge educational experience that will help prepare our students and develop the skills necessary for a highly competitive job market. Michael’s hopeful and generous remarks this month are another example of the tremendous support from the Memphis community for our great University.

View Michael Cook’s entire speech at:

Go Tigers!

M. David Rudd, President

Dear Faculty and Staff:

We can be proud that we are the only university in Tennessee that did not increase tuition for 2014-15. In fact, out-of-state students will notice their tuition has fallen a minimum of $3,000 since last year. The new 250-R Program students will be paying a rate closer to half of last year’s out-of-state tuition.

As of July 9, the University has received more than 16,500 applications for fall 2014 (15,750 for the main campus; 750 for the Lambuth campus), an increase of 65% in one year. This overall growth has been fueled by an impressive 87% increase in new freshman applications - which top 10,760 to date - and a 28% increase in transfer student applications. We have already seen over 2,000 students register for orientation programs this summer, an increase of almost 300 students over this same time last year.

This year’s state budget does not include funds for salary increases for state and University employees. The lack of state funding means that we are unable to provide an across-the-board salary increase to U of M employees.  As funds are available, we will continue to consider individual salary adjustments, such as promotions, reclassifications and certification attainment. The good news is that although the state’s original proposed budget included a 5.5% health insurance premium increase, the state will use its reserves to delay the increase, meaning there will be no increase in group health insurance premiums in January 2015.

The University remains committed to improving the salaries and wages of all employees, particularly those at the lowest end of the pay scale.  We will continue to work on this important issue and advocate on behalf of all employees with the Governor, the Tennessee State Legislature and the Tennessee Board of Regents.

Thank you for your continued dedication and for caring so deeply about the University of Memphis and our students.  We are making great progress toward meeting our enrollment goals, and we will continue to address our financial challenges in a thoughtful and strategic way.


M. David Rudd, President

For the second year, the Teacher Prep Review published by U.S. News & World Report in conjunction with the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) has ranked the elementary and secondary teacher preparation programs at the University of Memphis among the best in the nation.

The U of M was ranked 27th for its undergraduate elementary program and 28th for the graduate secondary program. The Review evaluated more than 800 elementary teacher programs and more than 800 secondary teacher education programs nationally. These rankings place the University of Memphis teacher preparation program among the top 3.5% in the country.  In terms of national rankings, the teacher preparation program has demonstrated the most significant performance of any academic program at the university.  These rankings demonstrate our strong institutional commitment to high-quality teacher training.

Within Tennessee, the University of Memphis elementary program was rated second and the secondary program fifth. In the Southern region, the U of M was ranked 11th among elementary programs and seventh among secondary programs.

Teacher education is essential to the success of Memphis and our nation. We can take great pride in being recognized as a national leader and innovator in an area that touches so many lives. I am grateful for the expertise, talent and hard work of our faculty.  Please join me in congratulating them on this remarkable accomplishment.

M. David Rudd, President


The NCTQ takes an in-depth look at admissions standards, course requirements, course syllabi, textbooks, capstone projects, student teaching manuals and graduate surveys, among other sources, as blueprints for training teachers. It applies specific and measurable standards that identify the teacher preparation programs most likely to get the best outcomes for their students. To develop these standards, the NCTQ consulted with international and domestic experts on teacher education, faculty and deans from schools of education, statistical experts and PK-12 leaders. The report is online at

University of Memphis students should be proud of their 14TH place ranking as one of the Top 20 Programs in USA Today’s Collegiate Readership Program.

According to statistics provided by USA Today, U of M students have been reading an average of almost 1,200 newspapers per day, totaling 141,669 for the latest academic year. USA Today coordinates all aspects of The Collegiate Readership Program, and all participating newspapers are delivered to displays located in residence halls or other campus locations each morning. A recycling program collects unused copies. The Collegiate Readership Program (CRP), originally created at Penn State University more than a decade ago, currently reaches nearly 500 colleges and universities. Dr. Rosie Phillips Bingham, Vice President for Student Affairs, credits former SGA Presidents Hunter Lang and Tyler Dewitt with lobbying for the program to be here in 2011.

The readership program provides students with daily (Monday through Friday) issues of USA Today, The New York Times, The Commercial Appeal and The Jackson Sun (available on the Lambuth campus). Distribution points can be found throughout the main campus and at Lambuth.

The level of knowledge and interest in what is happening around the world is heightened by daily access to a variety of newspapers.  The program presents great opportunities for the University of Memphis to foster dialogue and debate, encourage interest in national and global matters, and develop critical thinking skills. Students have quickly embraced the program as one of the real benefits of studying on our campus, says Dr. Rosie Phillips Bingham, adding, “I love that our students want to be well informed citizens of the world.” Its success is to be applauded and it is great to know that we are placing fourteenth among nearly five hundred programs in national readership.

Go Tigers!

M. David Rudd, President

The University of Memphis is proud to promote healthy living for its students, faculty, staff, and visitors by offering opportunities to move more, eat healthier and become tobacco free. Numerous activities are offered throughout the year as part of Memphis Healthy U, our community wellness initiative.

The University was recently recognized by two organizations for its healthy living programs. For the second consecutive year, the U of M was named a finalist in the Mid-South’s Healthiest Employers (500+ employees) awards given by the Memphis Business Journal. Additionally, the Memphis Healthy U initiative was recognized by the Memphis Business Group on Health (MBGH) and the American Heart Association as a “Fit Friendly” workplace. The MBGH is a coalition of local businesses that work together to support and influence healthcare services in the Memphis area.

Memphis Healthy U is a collaboration between the Department of Human Resources, School of Public Health, Department of Health and Human Sciences, Loewenberg School of Nursing, Student Health Services, Campus Recreation and Intramural Services, Student Involvement, Tiger Athletics, Alumni Association, Tiger Dining Services/Aramark, SGA, and numerous other departments at the University.

Weekly nutrition seminars and Midday Moves activities are offered throughout the spring and fall semesters.  Healthier food options are offered through Tiger Dining and BMI and blood pressure checks through the Loewenberg School of Nursing.   Each of these free events and services have improved the health of our campus community.  As president, I am committed to continuing and expanding these efforts, and I encourage you to take advantage of them.

More information on Memphis Healthy U activities can be found at, or by following Midday Moves on Facebook<> and Twitter<>.

M. David Rudd, President

As we highlight recent student successes all over our campus, I am pleased to share that a record number of law students earned academic credit and valuable legal experience this year through The Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law’s Experiential Learning Program.

The Law School’s Experiential Learning Curriculum centers around two distinctive course offerings: The University of Memphis Legal Clinic, a professional law office housed within the walls of the law school, and The University of Memphis Externship Program.  Among the 2013-14 graduating classes, some 104 students -- or 78% of the overall class -- completed either a Clinic or Externship, and 39% completed more than one Clinic or Externship.  Including the 27 students currently enrolled in the Summer Externship Course, Memphis Law students are on pace to complete 139 Externship field placements in Memphis and across Tennessee during the 2013-14 academic year.

According to Professor Daniel Schaffzin, the Law School’s Director of Experiential Learning, these statistics are consistent with trends across the national law school landscape and suggest that our law students have never been more engaged in learning through experience.

“Students emerge from experiential learning courses that much more ready to practice law and to meet the high expectations of the future clients and employers on whose behalf they will work following graduation,” said Professor Schaffzin.  “As evidenced by the remarkable year we have had and the tremendous growth of our experiential learning curriculum over the last several years, I think that both our students and devoted community legal partners are seeing the advantages of offering a robust set of Legal Clinic and Externship courses.  The Law School is well-positioned to continue building the community collaborations that form the core of our experiential classroom.”

Special thanks to Professor Donna Harkness (Director of the Elder Law Clinic), Professor Chris Zawisza (Director of the Child and Family Litigation Clinic), and Professor Steve Shields (Director of the Mediation Clinic) for their incredible teaching, inspired lawyering, and hard work within the University of Memphis Legal Clinic, and to Sandy Love, the Legal Clinic’s Administrative Assistant for her tireless devotion to the Experiential Learning Program.  And I particularly want to recognize Professor Schaffzin for his leadership of a program that brings distinction to the university and advances our commitment to the success of the Memphis community.

You can learn more about the University of Memphis School of Law's Experiential Learning Program at

Go Tigers!

M. David Rudd, President

There is nothing like new signage to let the neighborhood know of our U of M pride on Lambuth Boulevard.  Thanks to Linda Bonnin and her team for the attractive new pole banners.  And a special thanks to our community partners, the City of Jackson, for graciously installing them free of charge. A win/win for everyone.

Lambuth poles

Nothing better than attractive curb appeal, don’t you agree!

Go Tigers!

M. David Rudd, President

Faculty, Students and Staff:

You have recently received email from Dr. Shannon Blanton, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Programs, sharing our inaugural volume of QuaesitUM, the new undergraduate research journal of the University of Memphis--fresh off the press.  An electronic version is available as well:

 I want to encourage you to have a look and this issue, and to join me in celebrating the accomplishments of these young scholars. The seven articles showcase peer reviewed undergraduate research from all disciplines. Editor-in-Chief Dr. Sage Lambert Graham writes in the preface to QuaesitUM, “Our vision was to include rigorous research that provides something new– a new perspective, a new experimental design, a new tested result. This is the heart of scholarship – asking new questions. Thus, the name of the journal – QuaesitUM: to seek or to ask. This volume of selected undergraduate research papers is the embodiment of what we would like the University of Memphis to represent – quality scholarly work that emerges from asking questions and exploring new perspectives.”


Dr. Blanton’s Letter published in the first issue reminds us of the importance of what this new publication represents: “As one of America’s great metropolitan research universities, the University of Memphis is strongly committed to integrating research into our undergraduate students’ academic experience. For undergraduate students, the research process enables a deeper investigation of questions of keen interest; on a more personal level, it also facilitates collaboration between students and faculty.”

Please allow this to be part of your summer reading and share the pride in our students’ accomplishments so persuasively on display in the first issue of QuaesitUM.

Go Tigers!

M. David Rudd, President

Notes of thanks from students are always welcome and moving, but this one really hit home for me. It reminds me that our university serves many student constituencies, and that each comes with its own set of special challenges and commitments. When you read the letter I received from Member of the graduating class of 2014 Dennis E. Lee, HM1 (AW) USN (RET), I think you will see why this one holds a special place for me. The gratitude we owe our veterans is enormous, and we are privileged to assist them along their way in life. Please take a moment to read his thanks and also his challenge to us as citizens and members of the U of M community.

M. David Rudd, President


Dear friends,

On behalf of the entire veteran population on every campus, I want to thank the faculty and staff for the constant effort to ensure our special paperwork and needs are met, ensuring us a wonderful experience at University of Memphis. Your assistance was always quick and on point and directly aimed at solving any problems.  Your support was a huge factor in our graduation or continued enrollment.

While the faculty and staff went about fixing and tracking our paperwork for us we could turn to our jobs as students without worry. For the many times we had to trust others to have our back, while serving, it was a nice feeling to know that same situation happen here as well.

To our fellow alumni and students, we appreciate the warmth and welcome you give each one of us.  Your respect and appreciation for our service was, for me, very uplifting.

Being thanked for our service makes us feel somewhat humbled to be seen as heroes or praised in such ways.  For us, we simply see our service as a job we did. I certainly don't think I'm a hero. Crazy for working a flight deck? Maybe, but hero? That’s some one else.  I personally thank you and I'm sure other veterans will agree that it is nice to be appreciated for it.

Now for those of you reading this email- please know that the one thing any veteran wants more than any medal, or recognition is very simple. We want you to never take any action that makes our service, our sacrifices and the sacrifices of our families to be not worth it. In short, go and be productive members of society. Your words of thanks are easy; the action I request may be hard at times. Actions prove the words. Show us, that our efforts are, and were, worth every missed birth, birthday, first steps, graduations, first tooth lost, anniversaries and all the holidays.

As I adjust to a life away from the life of a student, I want to charge you all with one last thing.  I urge you all to take the time to appreciate where you are and treat each other respectfully.

Again thank you everyone for the best you've given to my fellow veterans and myself.

Much Respect,

Dennis E Lee


Class of 2014

TBR Chancellor Recommends David Rudd as UofM’s Next President

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 25, 2014) – M. David Rudd is expected to be named the next president to lead the University of Memphis pending approval by the Tennessee Board of Regents on Thursday, May 1.

The Board will meet via telephone at 2:45 p.m. CDT to consider TBR Chancellor John Morgan’s recommendation for Rudd to replace Interim President Brad Martin, who accepted a one-year interim appointment after Former President Shirley Raines announced her retirement following a 12-year stint at the university’s helm.

Rudd is currently the provost and Distinguished University Professor of Psychology at the University of Memphis, joining the campus in March 2013.

“Dr. Rudd is committed to the university and has a strong vision for its future that is supported by the community and business leaders in the region,” said Morgan. “He has worked closely with the interim president over the past year, and the work they’ve done in a short period of time has been notable. I expect Dr. Rudd will maintain that momentum.

“This has been a meaningful search process, and I appreciate the hard and thoughtful work of the search committee,” Morgan added. “Dr. Rudd emerged early in the process as a leader among a strong pool of candidates and an excellent short list of finalists. I am confident he will do a good job leading the University of Memphis.”

As the provost, Rudd serves on the university’s leadership team as the chief academic officer and has been involved in all aspects of university operations, including business and finance, community relations, research, athletics and development. He has spearheaded an effort to increase student recruitment, retention and degree completion, which has already shown substantial results.

Rudd’s administrative and teaching experience spans almost 30 years in roles in Texas and Utah.  Before being named provost at the University of Memphis, Rudd served as dean of the College of Social and behavioral Sciences at the University of Utah from 2009 to 2013. While there he helped the college recover from a $1 million debt to a surplus of more than $3 million through targeted restructuring, improved accountability and efficiency measures.

Before joining the University of Utah, Rudd was professor and chair of the Department of Psychology at Texas Tech from 2006-2009, and professor and chair of the Department of Psychology at Baylor University in 2004-05. He had spent the previous four years as a professor and director of Baylor’s doctoral program in Clinical Psychology. He held several roles at Texas A&M University before then.

Rudd earned the Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in psychology and holds a master’s degree in psychology from the same institution. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University. He has been responsible in part for more than $18 million in research grant funding in various roles throughout his career, including more than $3 million in recent years for research to help military populations through the U.S. Army/Department of Defense, Military Operational Medicine Research Program.

His full resume is available at

Rudd was selected after a national search that resulted in more than 70 applicants from around the country. The search advisory committee, chaired by Greg Duckett, senior vice president and chief legal officer at Baptist Memorial Health Care System, worked with executive search firm Greenwood/Asher & Associates to identify a broad range of highly qualified candidates. Four finalists were selected and visited the campus. Of those, two candidates, Guy Bailey and Sharon Gaber, later withdrew their names from consideration.

The University of Memphis is one of Tennessee’s three comprehensive doctoral-extensive institutions of higher learning and one of the largest institutions of the Tennessee Board of Regents system. Awarding more than 4,000 degrees annually, U of M has 24 Chairs of Excellence, more than any other Tennessee university, and five state-approved Centers of Excellence.

The May 1 meeting is open to the public and the press as listeners. Those wishing dial-in information for the call should contact Monica Greppin-Watts at or 615-366-4417 before 4:30 p.m. April 30. Anyone with a disability who wishes to participate should use the same contact to request services needed to facilitate attendance. Contact may be made in person, by writing, by e-mail, by telephone or otherwise and should be received no later than 4:30 p.m. CDT, April 30.

The TBR is the nation’s sixth largest higher education system, governing 46 post-secondary educational institutions, including the University of Memphis.  The TBR system includes six universities, 13 two-year colleges and 27 colleges of applied technology, providing programs across the state to more than 200,000 students.

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