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AU provost named next president of University of Memphis

Bill Hardgrave has served as provost at Auburn University since January 2018.
Bill Hardgrave has served as provost at Auburn University since January 2018.

Auburn University Provost Bill Hardgrave has been chosen to be the next president of the University of Memphis.

On Tuesday, Nov. 9, the University of Memphis Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve Hardgrave as the university's next president during a special called meeting. Trustees took very little time for discussion, and the meeting ended within 10 minutes.

All 10 members of the Board of Trustees expressed their preference for Hardgrave as the next president during an executive committee meeting on Friday, Nov. 5. The three-person executive committee unanimously voted to recommend Hardgrave for the position. Hardgrave was one of three finalists for the position.

Cammy Abernathy, dean of the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering at the University of Florida, and Teik C. Lim, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and interim president at the University of Texas at Arlington, were the other finalists.

In March 2021, David Rudd, the current president of the University of Memphis, announced his plans to retire. Following his statement, the Board of Trustees at the University of Memphis began searching for the next president. In total, the board considered over 90 candidates.

Hardgrave has been at Auburn University for over a decade. He began his time with the University as dean of the Raymond Harbert College of Business in 2010. In 2018, Hardgrave moved on to provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs. 

Hardgrave also served on the Board of Directors of the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation from 2011-2020 and was president of the board from 2018-2020.

In January 2021, Auburn University faculty met to consider a no-confidence vote in Hardgrave and his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. After a confused and chaotic meeting, 71% of faculty members voted against holding the no-confidence vote.

As provost, Hardgrave helped develop a "responsibility-based budget" for the University, overseeing the almost $850 million of the $1.2 billion budget that flows through the Provost's Office.

Hardgrave also moved the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Office of Inclusion and Diversity from the President’s Office to the Provost’s Office during his tenure.

Rudd will be leaving his position as president by May 2022, according to the University of Memphis' website. 

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