One might expect a city famous for ducks walking through a hotel lobby to have a university with exceptional flair, and it does. The University of Memphis opened its doors in 1912, and within the century has developed into the flagship public research institution of the Tennessee Board of Regents system with an enrollment of 23,000 students.
Students in those first classes selected blue and gray as the school colors, said to commemorate the reuniting of the country after the Civil War. They chose the tiger as their mascot, and the school is one of two in the nation represented by a live tiger. Tom III and his luxurious, custom-designed trailer receive a police escort to each event he attends.
The campus is located in a park-like setting that covers 1,160 acres approximately five miles east of downtown Memphis, where the Peabody Hotel and its famous ducks reside. Newer additions to the campus include the Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality and Resort Management and the FedEx Institute of Technology.
Founded in 2003, the FedEx Institute and its cross-cutting research laboratory system was designed to bridge the gap between industry and academic research. It is wholly a part of the University of Memphis and operated within framework authorized by the State of Tennessee.
A cadre of actors are among the university’s alumni, including Fred Thompson, actor and former US senator; Dixie Carter, famous for her role in television’s “Designing Women;” and actresses Cybil Shephard and Kathy Bates. Other alums include two Miss Americas: Barbara Walker Hummel, Miss America 1947 and Lynda Mead Shea, Miss America 1960.