For release: May 1, 2008
For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey
The University of Memphis will award an honorary doctorate to Frederick W. Smith during
spring Commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 3, at FedExForum. U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen
will be the featured speaker at both the morning and afternoon ceremonies, when the
University will award a total of 1,650 degrees, including 36 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 School of Audiology and Speech Language
Pathology will confer degrees.
At 2 p.m., commencement will be held for the Fogelman College of Business & Economics,
the College of Education, the Herff College of Engineering, and the Loewenberg School
of Nursing. Smith will receive his doctorate at the afternoon session.
The Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law will hold its graduation Sunday, May 4, at 3
p.m. at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts.
Smith is chairman, president, and CEO of FedEx Corporation, a $37 billion global transportation
and business services and logistics company. He provides strategic direction for all
FedEx operating companies, including FedEx Services, FedEx Express, FedEx Freight,
and FedEx Kinko’s. These companies serve more than 220 countries and territories with
more than 671 aircraft and 75,000 vehicles. Some 290,000 team members worldwide handle
more than 7.5 million shipments each business day.
Smith has served on the boards of several large public companies as well as the St.
Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Mayo Foundation boards. He is a member of the
Business Roundtable and the CATO Institute and is co-chairman of the Energy Security
Leadership Council. Born in Marks, Miss., Smith is a 1966 graduate of Yale University.
FedEx invested $5 million in the FedEx Institute of Technology at the U of M, which
opened in 2003. The 93,000-square-foot facility is a state-of-the-art academic entity
that supports research and innovation, notably the development of new ideas, approaches,
technologies, and educational programs that address real-world challenges. Since the
Institute opened, FedEx has pledged another $5 million to support the teaching and
research being done there. In 2002, FedEx donated $250,000 to launch the Institute’s
Center for Supply Chain Management.
A fourth-generation Memphian, Cohen has dedicated his life to public service. Since
2007, he has served as U.S. Representative from the state’s 9th Congressional District.
After graduating from the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in 1973, Cohen began his
career as legal adviser to the Memphis Police Department. In 1978 he was elected
to the Shelby County Commission and served there for two years. While a commissioner,
he was instrumental in the creation of The Med, a community-funded regional hospital.
Cohen has also been an interim Shelby County General Sessions Court judge and a delegate
to the Democratic National Convention. In 1984, he was elected to the Tennessee Senate,
an office he held for 24 years. During his tenure, Cohen fought tirelessly to establish
the Tennessee Lottery to help fund college scholarships. Since it was created in 2004,
the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship has provided more than $800 million for
students continuing their education at the college level.
The University of Memphis, founded in 1912, today is a major metropolitan research
university committed to excellence in education and service to the community. One
of 45 Tennessee Board of Regents campuses, the U of M offers 15 bachelor’s degrees
in more than 50 majors and 70 concentrations, master’s degrees in more than 45 subject
areas, and doctoral degrees in 21 disciplines, as well as the juris doctorate (law)
and specialist in education degrees. Its park-like suburban campus is home to approximately
20,000 students and 2,500 faculty and staff members. The University is accredited
by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
More information about the U of M is available online at: www.memphis.edu