The end of an era over at the University of Memphis as President Dr. Shirley Raines announces her retirement. Dr. Raines announced to her staff this morning that she will retire on June 30th. "It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the University of Memphis as president. These have been 12 of the most enjoyable, challenging and professionally fulfilling years of my life," Raines said. "The university has a strong foundation for the future, and I am confident in its academic and administrative leadership."
Dr. Raines has served as head of the University since 2001. She was the first woman to hold the position since the U of M's founding back in 1912.
Under her leadership, the University has seen significant expansion on and off campus. Since her appointment as president, enrollment has grown to more than 22,000 students with the university awarding 4,033 degrees in 2012, the most in its history. Also expansion of the University including the building of new facilities including the University Center and Wilder Tower. The University also expanded to Jackson after taking over what was once Lambuth University.
Students we talked with this morning says Raines will always be remembered as an administrator who always believed in putting the students first. U of M grad student Courtney Robertson says, "I remember actually meeting her when I was a senior in high school coming here for Campus Day. She was very pleasant, very enthusiastic about the campus, the students, about the potential students coming to the University. And I know a lot of professionals who actually know her around this country who speak highly of her."
U of M student Jordan Robinson says, "she helped build residence halls. She cared about the students a lot here at the University of Memphis and she really focused on education here at the University of Memphis."
John Morgan, chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents, is expected to name an interim president this week. One of the names that has surfaced is former SAKS CEO and U of M alum Brad Martin.
Martin led the search committees to find replacement for the Tigers athletic director job and head football coach. He's also heavily involved in republican politics as a fund raiser.
"President Raines has made an indelible mark on the university and the entire Memphis community, and she will be missed," Morgan said. "A bold leader, she helped the institution reach new benchmarks for enrollment, research and collaboration. An ambitious partner, she articulated a clear vision for fundraising and outreach and effectively steered the university's efforts to reach those goals. And an important ally, President Raines embraced the initiatives of the Complete College Tennessee Act and has worked to improve student performance, retention and success. She is a friend, and I appreciate the guidance and leadership she has provided for these 12 years."
The U of M recently celebrated its centennial anniversary, and its $250 million Empowering the Dream capital campaign will conclude June 30, just as Raines ends her tenure.
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