(Memphis) After 12 years, Dr. Shirley Raines said today she is retiring as as President of the University of Memphis, "My last day will be June 30," said Raines. "I'm retiring."
Most college presidents last six years, Raines has stayed twice that.
She started a month before the September 11th attacks.
"Yes. Lots of things have happened in twelve years," she said.
She's signing-off after a full term of accomplishments, "We started the school of public health and we doubled the amount of research grants and when I started we had a small honors program and now we have a large honors program . Over 10 percent of our undergraduates are in the honors program."
Raines, who oversees 23,000 students, will be trading the title of 'president' for "grandma."
She's moving to Oak Ridge, Tennessee with her husband to be closer to their son and his children, "The timing seems right for me now."
She says she's thought about retiring for the last year but wanted to finish off the centennial celebration and fundraising campaign.
With everything in order, she now feels confident to say goodbye,"It's been the chance of a lifetime."
Monday was also her birthday as she turned 68 years old.
Here's the full release from the University of Memphis:
Shirley C. Raines, president of the University of Memphis, announced today that she will retire from the U of M effective June 30.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the University of Memphis as president. These have been 12 of the most enjoyable, challenging and professionally fulfilling years of my life,” Raines said. “The university has a strong foundation for the future, and I am confident in its academic and administrative leadership.”
John Morgan, chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents, is expected to name an interim president this week.
“President Raines has made an indelible mark on the university and the entire Memphis community, and she will be missed,” Morgan said. “A bold leader, she helped the institution reach new benchmarks for enrollment, research and collaboration. An ambitious partner, she articulated a clear vision for fundraising and outreach and effectively steered the university’s efforts to reach those goals. And an important ally, President Raines embraced the initiatives of the Complete College Tennessee Act and has worked to improve student performance, retention and success. She is a friend, and I appreciate the guidance and leadership she has provided for these 12 years.”
Raines became the university’s 11th president, and the first woman, to hold the position on July 1, 2001. Previously, she was vice chancellor for academic services and dean of the College of Education at the University of Kentucky. She is the author of 14 books and numerous journal articles, and is widely regarded as an expert in teacher education and early childhood education. Raines is a frequent speaker at community events, as well as Harvard’s Institute for Educational Management. For the last six years, she has been a keynote speaker for Harvard’s Institute for Presidents and Chancellors.
Raines has led the University of Memphis through a period of phenomenal growth. Since her appointment as president, enrollment has grown to more than 22,000 students with the university awarding 4,033 degrees in 2012, the most in its history.
The establishment of the University of Memphis Research Foundation, along with the university’s focus on engaged scholarship in the community, has doubled the number of sponsored research grants and contract awards since the beginning of Raines’ tenure. She spearheaded the creation of the Memphis Research Consortium, a collaborative partnership with Memphis-area researchers and corporations, and she was the first female president of the Greater Memphis Chamber.
Major focus areas of her work with students include an increased emphasis on student retention, expansion of the university’s Honors and Emerging Leaders programs, the creation of a nationally-recognized internship program, development of living-learning residential and curricular learning communities throughout campus, and the establishment of the University of Memphis Lambuth Campus.
The U of M recently celebrated its centennial anniversary, and its $250 million Empowering the Dream capital campaign will conclude June 30, just as Raines ends her tenure.
Raines earned her doctorate and her master’s degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. She has a bachelor of science degree from the University of Tennessee at Martin, and has completed the Management Development Program from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
A native of Bells, Tenn., Raines is married to retired professor, Dr. Robert J. Canady. She has one son and two grandchildren.