Page 1

exclusive updates on the empowering the dream centennial campaign FALL 2011

With the Burketts: It’s Always Been a Team Effort page 3



Philanthropist Supports First-Generation College Students


Centennial Kickoff Celebration


Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs Builds on Legacy of Dr. Benjamin Hooks

9 10


In the early 1900s, political and business leaders, educators and the concerned citizens of the state of Tennessee persuaded the Tennessee state legislature to establish a public higher-education institution in Memphis. The state and the generous people of the community raised funds for the West Tennessee Normal School to prepare teachers for the schools of West Tennessee. Since its dedication on September 12, 1912, as the West Tennessee Normal School, the University of Memphis has been a beacon for those seeking to improve their lives through higher education. During the past century, our University has achieved many defining moments that have made a notable, enduring impact on individuals, their families and society.

The Donovans: Enriching Lives Through Travel

Centennial Campaign Leadership

The University of Memphis has launched the most ambitious campaign in its history. With a goal of $250 million, the Empowering the Dream Centennial Campaign will build endowment to attract and retain world-class faculty and talented students, add new buildings and establish crucial program support for strategic areas of study.

As the University of Memphis prepares to embark on its next 100-year odyssey, we have numerous opportunities to reflect on the past century of educational attainment, steady growth and devoted service to the community. We look forward to a new century of achievement, innovation, research and service. However, it is not enough to celebrate the past; we must plan for a vibrant future. With your financial help and your intellectual involvement, we can build on our strong foundation to secure our rightful place as one of the nation’s leading metropolitan research universities. To celebrate this historic moment, our 100th anniversary, the University of Memphis has launched the Empowering the Dream Campaign. This Centennial Campaign serves as a catalyst to position the University for continued greatness by building on a rich legacy of success. We will call on our many alumni, friends, fans and community leaders across the nation to join us in transforming our University through giving and involvement that prepares for our next 100 years. As was true in 1912, we could not have established West Tennessee Normal School without strong partnerships with the private sector — alumni, friends, and community and business leaders. Through a successful Empowering the Dream Campaign, we will together empower the Dreamers. Thinkers. Doers. of the next 100 years. Please join us in this historic and significant journey. Sincerely,

Shirley C. Raines President


With Charles and Judy Burkett, it’s always been a team effort. They first met at Treadwell High School, where he played linebacker on the football team and Judy was a cheerleader. After graduation he enrolled at the University (Memphis State in those days).

campaign, and he is chair of the University’s Board of Visitors.

“I knew early on that I was going to graduate from college,” Charles says. “I always viewed a degree from a good university as a door to a career.”

Charles and Judy point out the importance of the University’s interaction with the Memphis community.

But the path to a degree was not easy. Throughout his college years, Charles also held down a full-time job in the collections department at First National Bank of Memphis (now First Tennessee). “I scheduled most of my classes in the morning, before noon,” he explains. “Then I would go to work at 1 p.m. and get off at 9 p.m.” In 1972, while a junior in college, he married Judy. Charles graduated with a degree in business administration and became a first-generation college graduate. He transitioned into a permanent job with ease, having been accepted into the bank training program before he graduated. He remained with the bank for the next 41 years. He will retire in December as president of banking for First Horizon National Corporation. But now it’s time for a new challenge for Charles and Judy — as co-chairs of Empowering the Dream. Both seem more than prepared for the task ahead. Energy, enthusiasm and organization are traits they seem to share. Charles has already served as chair of a $25 million United Way

“When I looked at what was going forward at the University, I said to myself, ‘I really want to be a part of all this.’”

“If you look at the economic indicators of what the University of Memphis means to the community, it’s $1.5 billion to $2 billion per year,” Charles says. “So the impact of the University goes way beyond the campus.” The Burketts agree that the average Memphian may not be aware of the University’s achievements. Charles mentions just a few. “How many people in our community know that the School of Law consistently has the highest pass rate on the bar exam of any university in the state?” he says. “And that the School of Nursing had 100 percent of its students pass the national exam required for nurses? You have to step back and look at the quality of the education the University provides, how we stack up with our peers and across the state, and how we stack up nationally,” he adds, noting that the University also has the largest honors program in the state, with more than 10 percent of the student body in the program. And the list goes on. Charles and Judy obviously have done their homework. Both feel there could be no better time to launch a campaign, even an ambitious one like this.

“The timing is right because we are capitalizing on a historic event — the University is celebrating its 100th anniversary,” Charles explains. “We’ve made a lot of progress in the past 100 years, but there is an opportunity to go even further. Even with challenging economic times, we still feel comfortable that this is the right time.” The Burketts stress that the campaign is comprehensive, meaning that every gift counts, regardless of its size. “We want everybody to feel [that they are] a part of this,” Charles says. “It’s going to be a success if everybody gives something.” And why is that so important? “You want to have pride in the institution you attended — the

place where you learned, the place you were a part of,” he explains. “So you want to see that institution be as good as it can be.” And why is the University of Memphis particularly worthy of an investment? “I think the whole city of Memphis benefits,” Judy explains. “I like to think that our University will provide the future leadership in our city — for hospitals, for businesses, and so forth.” It’s been said that one of the significant challenges Memphis faces is attracting professionals to the city. Sometimes the first step towards Empowering the Dream can be found right in our own backyard.

TRACKING our PROGRESS Thanks to thousands of alumni and friends, more than $185 million in commitments have been secured. This represents an impressive 74% toward the $250 million Empowering the Dream Campaign goal.

Philanthropist Supports First-Generation College Students Did you know that students whose parents are not college graduates have less of a chance of receiving diplomas themselves? The statistics tell us that nationally only 36 percent of first-generation college students complete a degree within six years, compared with 60 percent of their peers whose parents are college graduates. Eric Suder came to know about those statistics and wanted to do something to change things. The result is the First Scholars Program, created by the Plano, Texas – based Suder Foundation. Suder, a 30-year business veteran, is founder and chief executive officer of ESI, a manufacturer of business communications systems. First Scholars provides individual, academic and social support, personal development and financial assistance to students whose parents have no education beyond high school. The First Scholars Program will get underway this fall at the University of Memphis with an $860,000 grant from the foundation. A total of 47 universities competed for the grant this year, and only the U of M and Washington State University were named recipients. “Students who are the first in their families to attend college face extra challenges adjusting to college life, because they and their families lack information about the college experience. Our number one goal at the University of Memphis is student success,� said Rosie Phillips Bingham, vice president for Student Affairs.



“The First Scholars Program will help us achieve that goal by giving students who may benefit from additional support the help they need to persist and graduate on time.”

“The hope is that the students will take advantage of those opportunities that are presented to them,” says Diane Schorr, executive director of The Suder Foundation.

Eric Suder, it turns out, was not a first-generation college graduate himself. He grew up in West Virginia, where both of his parents were teachers; his mother taught elementary school while his father taught high school. Early on, he came to understand the value of a college education.

Existing affiliates of the First Scholars Program include the University of Alabama, the University of Kentucky and Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Since 2009, The Suder Foundation has awarded more than $1.6 million in research planning, operational funds and scholarships to its affiliate universities.

Today he remembers how difficult it was financially for his family to send both him and his brother to school. And he also recalls being concerned that he could guarantee sending his own children to college. “I’ve always had an interest in helping kids who were disadvantaged financially,” he explains. He started by endowing some scholarships at the University of Texas (where his children attended) and West Virginia University (where he attended). “I wanted to focus on the B and B-plus kids who maybe did not receive a merit scholarship but should still be attending college,” he says. At West Virginia University he worked with Student Support Services and that got him interested in firstgeneration issues.

DID YOU KNOW? Nationally, approximately 18 percent of freshmen at four-year colleges are firstgeneration (Higher Education Research Institute, 2010). At the U of M, over twice that percentage – more than 42 percent — of Fall 2011 freshmen are first-generation.

Carolyn Williams-Bennett, Pat Tanner and Tom Bennett

Jim McGehee and Penny Aviotti

Carl and Trish Ring


Hilliard Crews, Rita Sparks and Harriett Crews Pyung-Kang Sharon Oh, alumna

Campaign volunteers and leaders gathered for the public announcement of the Empowering the Dream Centennial Campaign on September 30, 2011. The historic evening, sponsored by First Tennessee Foundation, included a concert by the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music with special guest, Aaron Neville. Betty and George Johnson


The Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music


Helen Gronauer and Honey and Rudi Scheidt

Allie Prescott, Bill Morris, Barbara Prescott and Shirley Raines

Marianne Hartquist with Carolyn and Marino Hardy

Tommie Pardue with Terri Murphy Hutson and Don Hutson Janet and Jim Ayers

Student Jessica Griffin with special guest Aaron Neville

Charles and Judy Burkett

Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs Builds on Legacy of Dr. Benjamin Hooks It’s been only a few months since Corey Strong, a graduate of White Station High School and the U.S. Naval Academy, was serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan. At Camp Eggers, where he was stationed, only a two-minute walk from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, the overall goal was, as he describes it, “to train the Afghanis — from the top of the Ministry of Defense down to the schools where they teach troops how to hold a rifle — how to do their jobs so, eventually, they can take the reins and be self-sufficient and we can rotate out.” Strong, assigned to NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan, worked in a recruiting office that had responsibility for recruiting for the Afghan army and police force, plus retaining reenlistments for both areas. Now, back in Memphis after transferring from active duty to the U.S. Naval Reserve, Corey Strong has a new challenge — and a significant honor. He is newly enrolled in the University of Memphis Law School, and he also has been selected as a recipient of the first Benjamin L. Hooks Law Scholarship from the law firm of Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs. Hooks, one of the leading figures in the civil rights movement, was in charge of the firm’s diversity practice group until his death in 2010. He also served as a judge, a minister, former executive director of the NAACP, and former commissioner of the Federal Communications Division. The scholarship offered by the law firm is in conjunction with the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis. Strong says he looked at a number of other law schools — including William and Mary, Northwestern, the University of Virginia, Vanderbilt and Georgetown — before deciding on the U of M.



“This is as fine a facility as you will see anywhere in the country,” he says. “It’s really phenomenal.” At this point, he hasn’t decided on what area of law he will concentrate. Already the holder of an MBA, he has considered studying contract law and business development law.

“This is as fine a facility as you will see anywhere in the country. It’s really phenomenal.” — Corey Strong

First-Year Law Student

There’s also public policy — “I do have some political aspirations for the future,” he explains. “But I have three years to figure it out, and I’m just in my first semester right now.” The three-year scholarship, which covers tuition and courserelated expenses, will be offered every three years to a full-time law student at the U of M, with preference given to a Memphian. “We are grateful to Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs in establishing the Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks Scholarship in support of the University and the School of Law’s diversity efforts,” said Dr. Kevin H. Smith, law school dean and Thomas P. Preston Professor of Law. “It is important to our goal of achieving greater diversity in our classes and in the legal profession.”

The Donovans: Enriching Lives Through TRAVEL Philip and Pamela Donovan love to travel. They’ve visited — just to name a few countries — New Zealand, Thailand, Kenya, Turkey, Austria and Egypt. In 1998-1999, they even traveled around the world with their two children for six months, starting in Beijing and ending in London. It was during a casual conversation with Henry Kurtz, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, that they happened to mention this love of travel. “When Henry learned about our travel background, he was smart to connect the dots,” Philip explains. As a result, the Travel Enrichment Fund was created at the U of M, a program that helps student and faculty members pay for travel and expenses so they can do research, present papers or attend conferences. Many people may not realize that when money is needed for such domestic or foreign travel, the University does not automatically foot the bill. The money has to be raised, and that’s where the fund, established in the spring of 2004, comes in. The Donovans, who already had connections to the University, became the lead donors for the fund. Philip received his bachelor’s and master’s

degrees in business administration from the University. He now works as senior vice president and senior portfolio manager at FTN Financial, a division of First Tennessee Bank. Pamela, now an artist, attended the University where she studied interior design and architecture. Both, coincidentally, are from U.S. Marine families, so at an early age, travel was a part of their lives.

have happened,” Philip says. And he agrees that the impact is not only on faculty and students — it works both ways. The participants become ambassadors who create visibility for the University around the world. “There’s no doubt that, because of the program, people have come to know the University of Memphis who wouldn’t have otherwise,” he says.

The couple, in discussing the Travel Enrichment Fund, suggested early on that an annual luncheon be held where recipients could talk to one another about their experiences and meet guests at the luncheon who might be interested in contributing to the program.

But there is keen competition for the grants. “They have more applicants than they have money to award,” Philip says. “While the program is funded, we hope, over time, there will be more of a donor stream.”

There have been countless rewarding moments during these gatherings. Philip mentions how a master’s candidate spoke of how he received funds to attend a conference in Brussels. It was there that he met someone from the University of Cologne in Germany, who offered him a job on the spot. As it turns out, he decided not to take the job, but the Donovans understood the significance of the moment. “We both realized that these opportunities can change a person’s entire life, sometimes in big ways, sometimes in small ways. Things can happen that otherwise might not

“If I can take somebody to my travel luncheon every January and say to them, ‘You know what you get out of travel; imagine what an engaged, enthusiastic student or professor can get out of it by making it part of their academic life.’ ” And, instead of simply writing a check, he says he likes the idea that the Travel Enrichment Fund allows him to connect with the activity and, in effect, to the community. “And that’s what the U of M is to us,” explains Philip. “It’s a community.”

EMPOWERING THE DREAM As with any significant undertaking, this campaign requires visionary and committed leadership. The University of Memphis is grateful to the following individuals who are empowering the dream through their generosity and service.

campaign leadership Co-Chairs Judy and Charles Burkett

Campaign Cabinet Tommie and Billy Dunavant Brenda and Frank Flautt Martha and Bobby Fogelman

Sandra and Jack Jones Pat and Mark Luttrell Dina and Brad Martin Jim McGehee

Musette and Allen Morgan Dianne and Larry Papasan Deanie Parker Honey and Rudi Scheidt

Rita Sparks Ruby and A C Wharton Norma and Kem Wilson

Campaign Steering Committee Anise and Ron Belz Marian and Mike Bruns Martha and Ben Bryant Jr.

Harriett and Hilliard Crews Evelyn and Theopolis Holeman

Betty and George Johnson Anne Marie and Tom Kadien Trish and Carl Ring

Beth and Harry Smith David Wedaman

Centennial 100 Amy Amundsen Rebecca and Mark Askew Norma and Olin Atkins Janet and Jim Ayers W. Gordon Ball Alice Nishiwaki and Reed Baskin Carolyn Williams-Bennett and Tom Bennett Carole and Emile Bizot Judy and Dave Bronczek Harold Byrd Debra and Robert Byrd Mary Calorio Mary Jo Greil and Donald K. Carson Kathy and Gene Cashman Bena and George Cates Isabel and Wei Chen Jan and Ron Coleman Margaret and Kin Dempsey Elizabeth and Robert Dinkelspiel Janice and Ted Donaldson Pamela and Phillip Donovan Andrea and Doug Edwards Amy and John Farris Fredrika and Joel Felt Bobbie and Dave Ferraro Glenna Flautt

Wendy and Avron B. Fogelman Bradley and Robert Fogelman Anne and Jerre Freeman Kathy Buckman and J.W. Gibson Dorrit and Art Gilliam Susan and Richard Glassman Susan and Alan Graf Willie H. Gregory Sr. Helen Gronauer Carolyn and Marino Hardy Jeannie and Hunter Harrison Jackie and Ron Hart Rhonda and Ken Hazen Charlotte and Fred Hodges Alison and Al Hollingsworth Margaret and Charles Hubbert Peggy and Jim Hughes Terri Murphy Hutson and Don Hutson Janet and Robert January Leesa and Larry Jensen Georgette and Cato Johnson Kim and D. Bryan Jordan

Nancy and John Kelley Marjean and Richard Kremer Margie and Jimmy Lackie Nan and Burns Landess Betty and Skip Loewenberg B. Lee Mallory John Moore Ann and Bill Morris Joanne and Morgan Morton Charlotte and Bob Neal Barbara and Jim Neely Marla Johnson Norris and James Norris Suzanne and Michael Osborn Carol and Mike Palazola Dan Palmer Vicki Roman Palmer Tommie Pardue Julie and Joe Pepe Susan and David Perdue Kimberly and Elliot Perry Diane Duncan and Knox Phillips Marguerite Piazza Rhonda and David Porter Barbara and Allie Prescott Ann and Stephen C. Reynolds Amy and Bill Rhodes

Mary and E. Taylor Richardson Barbara and H. Frank Ricks Catherine Ladnier and Mickey Robinson Cathy Ross Sandra and Joe Rowell Diane Rudner Arif Shakeel Glenda and Gary Shorb Barbara and Stefan Smith Frederick W. Smith Maxine Smith Chris Spindel Anne and John Stokes Gina and Russell Sugarmon David Sullivan Pat Kerr Tigrett Laurie and John Tucker Lynne and Henry Turley Deborah Turner Ann and Jim Vining Jeanette and Bill Watkins Robin and Tom Watson Pauline Weaver Bobby Wharton Joy and Russel Wiener Gina and Jim Wiertelak

This is the place. This is the time. This is your unprecedented opportunity to celebrate the first 100 years of the University of Memphis and create the success stories for the next century. There is no better time than now to be part of Empowering the Dream. 路 901.678.4376

non-profit org. u.s. postage paid memphis, tn permit no. 207

102 Alumni Center Memphis, TN 38152-3760

D e a r F R I E N D, We are pleased to share with you this inaugural issue of EMPOWER, the newsletter for the Empowering the Dream Centennial Campaign for the University of Memphis. Inside are stories of donors who are transforming the University through their generosity. We hope you will see, as they do, that supporting the University of Memphis and supporting education are really about investing in people.

A Tennessee Board of Regents Institution- An Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action University. UOM187-FY1112/35M JACO BRYANT 4783 HICKORY HILL RD MEMPHIS TN 38131


Exclusive updates on the empowering the dream centennial campaign (Fall 2011).