Former UA Walton College staffer, native Arkansan set to become president of the University of Memphis

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 868 views 

A former professor in the University of Arkansas’ Sam M. Walton College of Business is set to become the next president of the University of Memphis.

According to a report Friday by the Memphis Commercial Appeal, all 10 members of the University of Memphis board of trustees unanimously preferred Bill Hardgrave at a committee meeting Friday among three finalists recommended for the position. The other two finalists are Cammy Abernathy, dean of engineering at the University of Florida, and Teik Lim, interim president at the University of Texas at Arlington.

The University of Memphis board of trustees will make its vote for president Tuesday (Nov. 9) at 3 p.m.

Hardgrave, a Clarksville native, has served as Auburn University’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs since January 2018. He was previously dean of the Harbert College of Business from August 2010 through December 2017.

Before that, he spent 17 years at the University of Arkansas. He was an endowed chair and professor of Information Systems in the Walton College and served as the founder and executive director of the Information Technology Research Institute, which he established in 1999. He also founded and directed the RFID Research Center, which moved from the UA to Auburn in 2014. Hardgrave has worked with Amazon, Walmart, Microsoft and other companies on the use of RFID in global supply chains.

Hardgrave is also a member of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal’s 2003 Forty Under 40 class.

This year, Hardgrave was a finalist for the presidency of Oklahoma State University, one of his alma maters. On April 3, he lost out to an internal candidate, Dr. Kayse Shrum.

Hardgrave earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Arkansas Tech in 1987, a master’s in business administration from Southwest Missouri State in 1990 and a Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University in 1993.