University of Missouri President Elson S. Floyd to lead Washington State University

UM President Elson S. Floyd speaks at a higher education forum earlier this summer.

University of Missouri President Elson S. Floyd was introduced on Wednesday, Dec. 13, in Pullman, Wash., as the next president of Washington State University. He was hired as president of the University of Missouri on Nov. 11, 2002, and took office the following January.

Floyd guided the University through a period of unprecedented state appropriations cuts and recent state reinvestment. He also implemented a plan to reduce system-wide administrative expenditures by $20 million, far exceeding the announced 10 percent goal of $12.4 million. Resources identified by this initiative were reinvested in scholarships and financial aid, student services and faculty recruitment. During this past summer, Floyd traveled the state to host candidate forums on UM campuses and to appear jointly with the presidents of other Missouri public colleges to bring attention to the benefits and needs of higher education.

The Board of Curators began discussions of the presidential search during its meeting in Columbia on Dec.15. "We as a Board of Curators will begin a diligent and thorough process to search for a worthy successor to Elson S. Floyd. This will be a smooth transition of leadership. We want a leader who will move us with wisdom and confidence along our path to becoming a great university," said newly-elected board chair Don Walsworth. "The people of Missouri deserve no less."

icon question markUniversity update

New legislators visit UM campuses on freshmen tour

Newly-elected legislators took part in a three-week orientation and tour this month, and the new lawmakers had an opportunity to see some of the University’s facilities and meet with its leaders. A total of 33 legislators were elected to new posts in November; see the list of freshmen legislators and those who are UM alumni. [Read more on campus visits during the freshmen tour…]

Mark your calendars: Upcoming dates of interest
  • Wednesday, Jan. 3: Legislators will convene in Jefferson City for the first regular session of the 94th General Assembly. The session will begin with a swearing-in ceremony at noon and follow with a legislative ball later that evening.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 24: Gov. Matt Blunt will deliver the annual State of the State address at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 24. Blunt will discuss legislative goals and the Fiscal Year 2008 budget that he will submit to legislators.
  • Wednesday, March 14: The University of Missouri Alliance of Alumni Associations and Extension will hold its 33rd annual Legislative Day to help convey the University’s message to elected officials, stakeholders and other citizens.

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icon question markCampus highlights

Legislators attend groundbreaking for new MU nanomedicine institute
Curator Tom Atkins; University of Missouri President Elson S. Floyd; Sen. Kit Bond; Chancellor Brady Deaton; Nano institute director Fred Hawthorne; Vice Provost for Research Jim Coleman; School of Medicine Dean Bill Crist; and Dr. Robert Churchill break ground for the new nanomedicine institute.
Curator Tom Atkins; University of Missouri President Elson S. Floyd; Sen. Kit Bond; Chancellor Brady Deaton; Nano institute director Fred Hawthorne; Vice Provost for Research Jim Coleman; School of Medicine Dean Bill Crist; and Dr. Robert Churchill break ground for the new nanomedicine institute.

U.S. Senator Kit Bond (R-MO), Rep. Judy Baker (D-Columbia) and Rep. Ed Robb (R-Columbia) were among those who attended the groundbreaking for MU’s new International Institute for Nano and Molecular Medicine on Monday, Nov. 20. The $10 million facility, directed by Fred Hawthorne and Kattesh Katti, will house scientists studying radiology, hematology and oncology. Upon its completion at the end of 2007, the institute will serve as a base of operation for interdisciplinary teams of MU scientists. Their collective goal will be to use nanoparticles, or materials that are 100,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, to diagnose and treat cancer and promote research in the areas of pharmacology, immunochemistry and medical imaging of all types. The 26,000 square foot building will be across the street from the MU Research Reactor and adjacent to the Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center and to the proposed site for a Life Science Business Incubator.

Groundbreaking ceremony for Oak Street West Development at UMKC
Sen. Wheeler visits with construction project manager Larry Malone at the groundbreaking for Oak Street West.
Sen. Wheeler visits with construction project manager Larry Malone at the groundbreaking for Oak Street West.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City held a groundbreaking ceremony for its Oak Street West Development on Friday, Nov. 10. The new residential housing project will involve the demolition of UMKC’s existing Twin Oaks complex, followed by the construction of the new Oak Street West Student Apartments, which will house more than 500 students beginning in fall 2008. Sen. Charles Wheeler (D-Kansas City) was among the community members to attend the event, in which UMKC Chancellor Guy Bailey and Cecil Phillips, chief executive officer of Place Properties, LLC, spoke of the positive impact the project will have on the campus and community. The $55 million project is being funded by Provident Group – UMKC Properties, a private investor. UMKC is leasing the property to the investor and Place Properties will design, build, operate and manage the facility. The project will generate income for both the private corporation and UMKC and will become the sole property of UMKC when the lease expires in 2038.

UMKC holds scholarship reception
UMKC Trustee Leo Morton with Rep. Michael Brown at the Johnson scholarship reception.
UMKC Trustee Leo Morton with Rep. Michael Brown at the Johnson scholarship reception.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City hosted its annual Herman Johnson African American Scholarship Reception on Wednesday, Nov. 15, at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Center in Kansas City. The event honored the late Herman Johnson, an active community member known for working to keep minority students in Kansas City by helping them secure financial assistance for college. Rep. Michael Brown (D-Kansas City) and Rep. Sharon Sanders Brooks (D-Kansas City) were among approximately 100 guests to attend the event, which also celebrated UMKC’s largest privately endowed scholarship fund for African-American students. During the 2006-2007 academic year, the Herman Johnson African American Scholarship Fund assisted more than 20 students and, since its 1999 inception, the fund has provided financial support to more than 150 students.

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icon question markState relations

Council on Public Higher Education renews support for Lewis & Clark; UMR to transition to MOHELA for loans

During a meeting on Thursday, Dec. 14, members of the Council on Public Higher Education (COPHE) renewed their unified support for the Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative and encouraged lawmakers to move quickly to adopt the measure next month, either through a special session or via a bill with an emergency clause. COPHE is preparing a letter signed by all of the presidents and chancellors of the state’s public four-year institutions expressing support and encouraging quick passage.

In other MOHELA-related news, the University of Missouri-Rolla announced that it will move the processing of its Stafford Loans to the Federal Family Loan Program through MOHELA. UMR plans to complete the entire transition to MOHELA guaranteed loans for all student loans in time for the fall 2007 semester.

Governor’s office releases plan for transformation of Medicaid

Gov. Matt Blunt’s office released a proposal to reform Missouri’s Medicaid program on Thursday, Dec. 7. The plan was developed by Missouri’s Departments of Social Services, Health and Senior Services, and Mental Health based on recommendations by the Medicaid Reform Commission, which reviewed the program in 2005. The commission was created with the passage of SB 539, which provided for a June 30, 2008, sunset for the state’s current Medicaid program. In the report released last week, the executive agencies proposed 14 recommendations for the governor’s consideration. The governor will evaluate the proposals and announce his plan for the General Assembly’s consideration when it convenes in January. [Read more on the 14 main recommendations]

Stein named higher education commissioner

Robert Stein, who has served as interim commissioner of higher education, was appointed commissioner on Thursday, Dec. 14. Stein has worked for the Missouri Department of Higher Education since 1987, most recently as associate commissioner. The Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education, which hires the commissioner, works with the state’s public higher education institutions.

House Special Committee on Immigration Reform releases final report

The House Special Committee on Immigration Reform, which conducted a series of hearings across the state over the summer, submitted to Speaker of the House Rod Jetton (R-Marble Hill) the final report of its findings on Thursday, Nov. 9. The report outlines many issues that the committee recommends be addressed during the upcoming legislative session, including one recommendation for higher education. It also states that the General Assembly pursue “clarification of Missouri policy and standards against access to publicly funded higher education institutions by those without lawful presence.” [Read more…]

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icon question markFederal update

U.S. Congress approves tuition tax breaks before adjournment

The 109th Congress finished up several pending issues before adjourning for the year on Saturday, Dec. 9. Congress passed a National Institutes of Health reauthorization bill as well as a package that addressed several trade, energy and tax issues. Among those tax issues was the extension of several tax breaks that have expired or were set to expire, including the two-year extension of the college tuition deduction. Taxpayers with incomes of $65,000 or less ($130,000 for couples filing a joint return) can deduct $4,000 for higher education costs, while the deduction is $2,000 for those earning up to $80,000 (or $160,000 with joint returns). The cost is $3.3 billion over two years. Congress has only completed action on two of the Fiscal Year 2007 federal appropriations bills, but did pass a continuing resolution that allows the government to operate at FY06 funding levels until Feb. 15. The 110th Congress convenes on Thursday, Jan. 4 and is expected to work on issues including raising the minimum wage, lobbying and ethics reform, and stem cell legislation.

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