After twelve years at the University
of Memphis President Shirley Raines has announced she is stepping down from her
post on June 30th.
She's presided over an era in school
history that ran the emotional gamut from the school being hit with one of the
stiffest penalties ever issued by the NCAA.
Les Smith reports the school's first woman president applied her own style to problem solving.
Shirley Raines took over a university
whose business college was on the verge of losing its accreditation. A law school library that was flooding every
time it rained heavily. And technology
programs were more applicable to the 20th century rather than the 21st.
To understand and appreciate how far
the university has come under her leadership you have to remember where it was. As news of her retirement becomes public Raines
accomplishments, especially in raising the academic standards and generating
new revenue streams for a school formerly in financial crisis, cannot be
overlooked, nor should her hesitance to become more deeply involved with the
inner workings of the often embattled U of M athletic department. Yet in spite of being courted by other
colleges and universities over the years Raines loyalty to the U of M appeared
never to be in question.
Dr. Shirley Raines worked from early
in the morning until late at night to turn things around and secure a place of
excellence for the University in academic history. In addition to the successes Les mentioned,
there is The FedEx institute of Technology, the University Center. The Bell's Tennessee native not only raised
the level of education performance, she set records.
The list is extensive and with all the
academic and capital success as you heard Les say, some in Tiger Nation will
only remember their feeling, good or bad, about what she did in sports.
In a sit down interview this afternoon
in her office, I asked Dr. Raines about sports and academics.
Tonight at 9 we'll have more from Dr. Raines interview, including her response about the handling of the NCAA violation by one student athlete and we talked about what her husband did to mark the announcement of her retirement June 30.