Martin rolls out bold new plans for Tiger Nation - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Martin rolls out bold new plans for Tiger Nation

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

The University of Memphis campus looks very different than in 1976 when Brad Martin was a bright-eyed Memphis State student.

As interim president of the university he's cramming once again for a top grade, but his success this time is tied to the outcomes of 22,000 students, a faculty, and a city.

Martin is nothing if not aggressive. He graduated from then Memphis State in 1976, and within 10 short years, he earned an MBA from Vanderbilt, served as a Tennessee State lawmaker and became a star in the competitive retail industry as leader of luxury retailer Saks department store, headquartered in Birmingham, Ala.

"I'm aggressive by nature," he said.

In fewer than 40 years he's back on campus ready to  bring the same business drive to his alma mater, and there are big, bold, aggressive plans on the top Tiger's drawing board:

In 10 years he wants  the top 30 employers in the market to routinely call on U of M grads first when there are job openings.

He wants to wipe out the drudgery of registering for college by creating  best-of-class standards for admissions,  enrollment, financial aid, advising and student housing.

He plans to turn his retail acquisition skills toward increase student enrollment. He wants 1,000 students enrolled for 2014-15 and 1,000 for 2015-16.

"Our strategies will include extensive recruiting, extensive marketing and I think it will include going beyond our borders," he said. "I  have made it clear I'm going to ask to abolish out-of-state tuition for the University of Memphis, giving us the ability to recruit and compete to get talented people, go to the university and hopefully stay in this community."

The international businessman is not turning his focus on the School of Business. Instead Martin wants to create the best college of education in the nation, to turn out the best teachers in the world.

"Ten years from now we have produced 4,000 great teachers who join dedicated workers in this community, and we are seeing outcomes from our K-12 schools that change the city," Martin said.

The question though, will Martin remain at the University of Memphis and help get his agenda complete?

"My goal, before I leave -- and I will leave at the end of a year -- is to have these plans in place with great, great team here poised to execute."

The question though, will Martin remain at the University of Memphis and help get his agenda complete?

"My goal, before I leave -- and I will leave at the end of a year -- is to have these plans in place with great, great team here poised to execute."

"If we can produce great teachers who produce great outcomes, given the historical difficulties we have had for several decades in our school system here, it will be noted around the world."

Martin only has 10 months left as interim president. He's a Tiger through and through, and is happy with the direction of the sports programs and he  wants to win.

Interestingly, he calls the professors the soul of the campus, and contrary to what you may have heard the former Saks chief executive will not be selecting the new cheerleader outfits.

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