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University of Memphis Board of Trustees recommends Dr. Bill C. Hardgrave as next president to replace Rudd

The University of Memphis Board of Trustees Executive Committee met on Friday to announce their recommendation for the university’s new president.

After spending the week meeting with and interviewing the three final candidates, the committee recommended Dr. Bill C. Hardgrave, currently provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Auburn University since 2018.

President Rudd announced last semester that he would be stepping down in May 2022 to return to teaching and research.

Since the announcement, the board has been conducting a national search for a successor. The search was narrowed down to three final candidates, all of whom have spent the past week on campus meeting with campus leaders and attending question and answer sessions with board members and students.

The other two candidates that have been under consideration are Dr. Cammy R. Abernathy, the Dean of the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering at University of Florida, and Dr. Teik C. Lim, the interim president of University of Texas at Arlington.

The three executive committee members voted unanimously to recommend Dr. Hardgrave, citing his background, work ethic and enthusiasm in their decision making.

During the question and answer session with students on Wednesday, Dr. Hardgrave spoke about his familiarity with the UofM, growing up in a small town in Arkansas, and his admiration for the school.

“When I started looking at the University of Memphis, I just saw a tremendous opportunity to continue building this great university,” he said.

The final decision will come in a meeting on Tuesday at 3 p.m. in the University Center Senate Chamber. The meeting can also be streamed remotely.

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