In the past, few aspects concerning the University of Memphis have received as much criticism as the lack of modern student facilities, it's connection to the surrounding community and the poor results of the football program. The Spring 2010 semester arrives just in time to remedy that perception with four huge investments designed to bolster the University's future.
Students will get very familiar with the brand new University Center that has nearly reached completion. The current incarnation is the third edition of the UC. The previous UC served student needs from the late sixties until 2007. The new UC will feature many amenities for student life, food court dining as well as a restaurant. In addition it will house a 1,000 seat ballroom, a 350 seat theater and ample conference space. To round out the style of the new UC there will be a "spectacular, sky-lit atrium."
Saturday the 16th of January was the grand opening gala for the new Cecil C. Humphreys Law school at Front and Madison. The 125 year old building had formerly been a courthouse and a post office over the years. Mayor A.C. Wharton said, "It's the most elegant building that perfectly represents the law profession." The building is far larger than the former law school on the main campus. In addition the Front Street setting is a fantastic location as both Criminal and Civil court cases are heard just blocks away.
The University of Memphis is addressing the city's' educational needs with the creation of the Memphis Literacy Corps. The MLC is a ten week program that employs University students of all majors to tutor Memphis City Schools students from third to fifth grades that are struggling with their schoolwork. Due to the fact that there are over 110,000 students in the Memphis City School system, it makes the MLC the largest tutoring effort ever seen in the U.S. University students wanting to sign up can do so at the MCS website until January 23rd.
Finally the hiring of new football coach Larry Porter marks the first time that a University of Memphis' alum has been tapped for that position. Larry Porter had formerly been an outstanding running back at the University from 1990-93. The hiring addresses the complaints of fans who, in the last few years had questioned the work ethic of former coach Tommy West who was a University of Tennessee alum. Larry Porter was twice (2007 and 2009) named as the National Recruiter of the Year by Rivals.com making him one of the most high-profile assistant coaches in college football. Tiger fans now have something to look forward to in the fall again. That something is a new attitude.