University of Memphis names third finalist in presidential search, completing top candidate list

Laura Testino
Memphis Commercial Appeal
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The University of Memphis has named its third finalist for incoming president. 

Teik C. Lim is the interim president at The University of Texas at Arlington. He was named interim in spring 2020 and also serves as a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. 

Lim joins two other finalists in Bill Hardgrave at Auburn University and Cammy Abernathy of the University of Florida, who began sessions with campus on Tuesday. 

More:University of Memphis will choose new president by next Tuesday

Lim's campus meeting schedule is below. All meetings are on Thursday.

The open session for the campus and community is from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with U of M Board of Trustees in the University Center's Senate Chambers room 261. 

Additional sessions include: 

  • Staff meeting from 10:00-10:55 a.m., UC Bluff Room 304
  • Faculty meeting from 2-2:55 p.m., UC Bluff Room 304
  • Student meeting from 3-3:55 p.m., UC Memphis Room A-B 340
  • Alumni and community meeting from 4-4:55 p.m., via Zoom

Before his appointment to interim president, Lim came to the University of Texas at Arlington in 2017 as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, also a professor. 

Interview schedules:U of M identifies first of three finalists for new president, releases interview schedules

For 15 years prior, he moved from associate professor to department head, then to director and deanships at the University of Cincinnati, all within science and engineering colleges and departments. 

Lim also taught at the University of Alabama and Ohio State University, where he had previously earned his doctorate in mechanical engineering. Lim also holds masters and undergraduate degrees from The University of Missouri–Rolla and Michigan Technological University, respectively. He worked as a project engineer between completing his doctorate and beginning as a professor, according to his resume.

Within engineering, Lim specializes in "precision machine design and dynamics, gear noise and vibrations, structural vibrations and acoustics, active noise and vibration control...(and) product sound quality."

In Texas, he has served in leadership roles among several higher education and engineering groups and is currently a board member for the Sunbelt Athletic Conference for NCAA Division I.

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While at Cincinnati, Lim served on the university's research institute transition team and board for five years.

Lim recently appealed to the city of Arlington for a research park at the university, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported, and pushed for a master plan that would connect the university's east and west campuses.

“Whatever happens in the search here, I know the university’s going to march forward and the university’s going to continue to work with the city of Arlington,” Lim told council members in October.

The University of Texas System officially appointed Lim to interim president in May 2020, succeeding president Vistasp Karbhari, who stepped down amid an investigation into the university's online nursing program, the Dallas Morning News reported

The university began its own search for president also over the summer, after Lim had been in the position for more than a year. It appears to be ongoing.

Rudd steps down:Why M. David Rudd is stepping down as U of M president and what happens next

Students and faculty agreed Lim has had a successful interim presidency, but pushed in the spring for a search for a permanent president, reported The Shorthorn, the university's student newspaper.

The Shorthorn reported students and faculty applauded Lim for the way he navigated through the pandemic and social justice movement during the summer of 2020, as well as for his diversity and inclusion initiatives, which included a vice president position and $25 million in scholarships for diverse students, including first-generation students.

Laura Testino covers education and children's issues for the Commercial Appeal. Reach her at [email protected] or 901-512-3763. Find her on Twitter: @LDTestino

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