Today, Governor Bill Haslam named eight members to the first inaugural board of trustees for the University of Memphis.
Among those eight is former interim university president Brad Martin and the chief financial officer for FedEx Corp, Alan Graf.
In a release, Haslam's office stated that establishing a local governing board for the university will fulfill Haslam's 2010 gubernatorial campaign promise to "give the university more autonomy". This increase in autonomy will allow the university to appoint their president, set tuition, and other key operational decisions.
Memphis is now one of six public universities under the Tennessee Board of Regents that operates with their own independent board. The broader hope, according to Haslam's office, is that increased decision-making ability for Tennessee colleges will bolster attendance as part of the Drive to 55 initiative, the state-run initiative to have 55% of Tennessee's hold a degree or certification by 2025.
In a statement released by the university, president David Rudd said Haslam's appointments will "better position the U of M to grow and compete at the national level."
“We are grateful for Governor Haslam’s vision for the future of higher education in Tennessee and the support of our state legislators," said Haslam. "Without their commitment to excellence in higher
education, this remarkable opportunity would not be possible.”
The eight named members of the board are:
Douglas Edwards, senior advisor at BBH Capital Partners and former CEO of Morgan Keegan & Company, Inc.;
Marvin Ellison, CEP and board chairman of J.C. Penney Company, Inc.;
Alan Graf, executive vice president and chief financial officer for FedEx Corp.;
Cato Johnson, senior vice president of public policy and regulatory affairs for Methodist Healthcare;
Brad Martin, former interim president of the University of Memphis and retired chairman and CEO of Saks Incorporated;
David North, president and CEO for Sedgwick Claims Management Services;
Carol Roberts, senior vice president and chief financial officer for International Paper Co.; and
Susan Springfield, executive vice president and chief credit officer for First Horizon National Corporation.