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M. David Rudd named president of University of Memphis

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M. David Rudd was named the 12th president of the University of Memphis this week when the Tennessee Board of Regents approved the recommendation of Chancellor John Morgan. Rudd, who has served as the University’s provost since March 2013, brings a distinguished record to the office of the president. As the University’s chief academic officer, he has been involved in all aspects of University operations, including business and finance, community relations, research, athletics and development. He has led an effort to increase student recruitment, retention and degree completion, which has already shown substantial results.

“I look forward to leading the University of Memphis into the next chapter in its storied history, to supporting and serving our students, continuing our excellence in the classroom, expanding vibrant and impactful research, and strengthening our ties to the city of Memphis,” said Rudd.

Rudd’s administrative and teaching experience spans almost 30 years in roles in Texas and Utah. Before being named provost at the U of M, he was dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Science at the University of Utah from 2009-2013. 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. He was professor and chair of the Department of Psychology at Baylor University in 2004-2005 and spent the previous four years as a professor and director of Baylor’s doctoral program in Clinical Psychology. He also was a faculty member at Texas A&M College of Medicine.

Throughout his career, Rudd has been responsible in part for more than $18 million in research grant funding, including more than $3 million for research to help military populations through the U.S. Army/Department of Defense Military Operational Medicine Research Program. He has continued his affiliation with the National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah as co-founder and scientific director, a role that has garnered much national attention. Rudd has testified seven times before the U.S. Congress on issues related to veterans and suicide.

Rudd earned a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Texas at Austin and holds a master’s degree in psychology from there as well. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University. He succeeds Shirley Raines, the president from 2001-2013, and University of Memphis alumnus and business executive R. Brad Martin, who has served as interim president since July 1, 2013.

“I am thrilled with the selection of David Rudd as president of the U of M. During this past year, he has proven to be an outstanding leader and a great partner for me in intensifying the University's focus on student success, valuable research and effective service,” said Martin. “He is committed to the significant role the University has in building a bright future for this community, and I am grateful he will lead this important institution.”

In April, Martin reflected on his own service as president and on the status of the university: “When I assumed the interim presidency of the University of Memphis, I promised to focus upon a few significant priorities around the themes of growth and connection. I outlined our goals in August of 2013 and pledged that this interim period would not be one of inaction or lost momentum. I am pleased to report that the University of Memphis is indeed poised for significant growth and enhanced connection.

“We will reverse a multi-year decline in enrollment at the U of M in the Fall of 2014. At this writing, applications for admission are up by more than 70% and represent, by a wide margin, the highest number of applicants in the history of the University of Memphis. Internal forecasts suggest a significant double-digit increase in freshman enrollment and transfer students, which, combined with strong student retention initiatives, should generate significant growth in enrollment, while maintaining high entrance standards.”

“Dr. Rudd is committed to the University and has a strong vision for its future,” said Morgan. “He has worked closely with the interim president over the past year, and the work they have done in a short period of time has been notable.”

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