Raines, Shirley


Dr. Shirley Raines worked as a President Emeritus of University of Memphis, retired on June 30, 2013. She was the 11th president of the University of Memphis, the first woman in the role, and served for 12 years. As President of the University of Memphis, Dr. Raines provided leadership, direction, policy formation and oversight to all areas of the university, including the divisions of Academic Affairs (15 colleges and schools, the Graduate School and the University Libraries), Business and Finance, Advancement and Alumni Relations, Athletics, Information Technology and Marketing and Communications. She was the Chief Executive Officer and served as an engaged CEO who was people-oriented and goal-motivated.  With approximately 2,500 personnel, from professors to research scientists to groundskeepers, the University enrolls approximately 23,000 students.

Raines was inducted into the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame in 2013, a tribute sponsored by the Tennessee Women’s Economic Development Council. Shirley has been given numerous honors and is a frequent speaker at local, state and national events.  Recently, she was invited by the Department of Commerce to speak at the White House Forum on “The Innovative and Entrepreneurial University.” She also focused on building internships and the University was recognized as one of the top 10 in America for successful internship programs. Also known for her effectiveness in university leadership, she has served for five consecutive years as a faculty member for the Harvard Seminar for New Presidents and Chancellors.

Described in The Commercial Appeal as “powerful, prepared and personable,” she became known for her effective work in building productive partnerships with businesses, industry and community leaders to grow local and regional economies. She chaired the Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce, the first woman to hold that role, and served on the boards of Memphis Tomorrow, Methodist-LeBonheir Health Care, WKNO – Public Television Station, United Way of the Mid-South and the Leadership Academy.  In addition, she chaired the Work Group for Memphis Aerotropolis which revitalized the gateways and beautification of the areas near the airport.

She had responsibility for the annual university budget of approximately 415 million, chaired the Herff Trust valued at 25 million, and founded the University of Memphis Research Foundation and Memphis Research Consortium. During her tenure, sponsored research and grants grew by over 100%. A recent financial accomplishment was the completion of the Centennial Anniversary Capital Campaign for 250 million, during one of the most challenging economic times.

Under her leadership the university completed a highly successful building program and campus redesign. To name a few, the construction of the FedEx Institute of Technology, the Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality and Resort Management, the new University Center, the relocation and renovation of the historic U.S. Customs House/Court House/ Post Office for the Law School, Carpenter Complex and two residence hall renovations, campus redesign with student plaza, clock tower and major improvements in athletic facilities including FedEx Field, Brister Library, the Honors Building, and securing and renovating the former Lambuth University Campus in Jackson, Tennessee, as a campus for the University of Memphis.

Previous to her appointment at the University of Memphis, Dr. Raines was Vice Chancellor for Academic Services and Dean of the College of Education at the University of Kentucky.  She is the author of 17 books and numerous journal articles, and is widely regarded as an expert in teacher education and early childhood education. Her books have been published by Gryphon House, Cengage Learning, and Columbia Teachers College Press. As a professor she has served at universities in Florida, Virginia, Oklahoma and Alabama.

Dr. Raines earned her Doctorate in Education and her Master of Science degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Her Bachelor of Science degree is from the University of Tennessee at Martin. She also completed the Management Development Program from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

As President Emeritus of the University of Memphis, Shirley continues to work on assignments for the University of Memphis, particularly in fundraising, and contributes to projects for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. In her present role as a speaker and consultant, she conducts leadership development training for education groups and for non-profits. She is in demand as a speaker for regional and national education groups in the areas of early childhood and teacher education.  At the local level, she speaks to civic and community groups, and is a regularly requested speaker for commencement exercises in higher education.

A native of Bells, Tenn., who now resides in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, home of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Emory Valley Center and of the Roane State Community College Foundation.

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