Charles Burkett, president of banking for First Tennessee Bank, was the featured speaker
during the University of Memphis’ winter Commencement ceremonies Saturday, Dec. 19,
at FedExForum. A total of 1,416 degrees were awarded, including 40 doctorates.
In a 10 a.m. ceremony, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Communication
and Fine Arts, the University College, and the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law conferred
At 2 p.m., Commencement was held for the Fogelman College of Business & Economics,
the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences, the Herff College of Engineering,
the Loewenberg School of Nursing, the School of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology,
and the new School of Public Health.
During his 39-year career with First Tennessee, Burkett’s areas of responsibility
have included personal banking, small business lending, retail credit, installment
and credit card loan administration, and regional banking. He also has served as executive
vice president and manager of First Tennessee’s wealth management division. In that
role, Burkett managed trust, investments, insurance, and financial planning. Prior
to assuming bottom-line responsibility for the entire banking franchise, he served
as president of retail financial services and the Memphis bank.
Burkett graduated from the University of Memphis in 1973 with a BBA degree in business
management. He serves as chairman of the U of M’s Board of Visitors and is past president
of the Tiger Athletic Advisory Board of Directors. In 2005, the Department of Economics
in the Fogelman College of Business & Economics named Burkett its Economic Educator
of the Year. He was recognized for his efforts to integrate economic education into
local school agendas.
Burkett also graduated from the University of Virginia’s Graduate School of Banking
and the University of Tennessee’s Executive Development Program. A native Memphian,
Burkett has volunteered his services to a variety of local civic and charitable organizations.
He is the current chairman of the board of directors of the United Way of the Mid-South.
The University of Memphis, founded in 1912, is a comprehensive metropolitan research
university that is recognized nationally and internationally for its academic, research,
and athletic programs. For its more than 21,000 students, the University offers more
than 254 areas of study for those seeking bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees;
it also offers the juris doctor (law) and education specialist degrees.