New extension director visits Capitol to meet legislators

Rep. Paul Quinn (D-Monroe City) visits with an MU alum at the legislative forum

Dr. Michael Ouart, the new vice provost for MU Extension and director of cooperative extension, visited the Capitol on Thursday, Jan. 18, to meet legislators and discuss the importance of University of Missouri Extension and its statewide impact. Ouart, who has more than 30 years’ experience in extension functions and services, most recently served as associate vice provost and associate director of extension at Iowa State University. "The structure of extension at MU provides a great opportunity to reach current and future learners," Ouart said. "Because of its size, scope and structure, MU Extension is in a fantastic position to be a catalyst for the growth of the state." Extension serves all 114 Missouri counties and the City of St. Louis, and each year more than one million Missourians rely on extension programs for research-based information and education.

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Senate confirms Erdman curator appointment

On Thursday, Jan. 18, the Senate Gubernatorial Appointments Committee, chaired by Sen. Mike Gibbons (R-Kirkwood), unanimously approved Bo Fraser of Columbia and Warren Erdman of Kansas City, two of Gov. Matt Blunt’s three new appointments to the University of Missouri Board of Curators. Gibbons reported the approved appointments to the floor to obtain the Senate’s advice and consent. While typical Senate procedure allows the Senate to approve a number of appointees in a single vote, Sen. Matt Bartle (R-Kansas City) objected and asked that appointees be voted on individually. The Senate eventually confirmed Erdman early Friday morning. The governor praised the confirmation, calling Erdman an "honorable public servant who will make a great addition to the Board of Curators as they work to build a stronger University of Missouri system and prepare our students for tomorrow’s challenges." In a statement, Gibbons said that Fraser and Judith Haggard, the third curator appointed by Blunt, are "both excellent appointments and we will move forward with both next week in advance of the February deadline for interim appointments."

2007 district datasheets now online

How many University of Missouri alumni and students live in your district? What services does the University provide for your county? You can now find out the University of Missouri’s 2007 impact by checking out data provided at the Government Relations website. Datasheets are searchable by county, Congressional district, state House and Senate districts, as well as statewide.

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Paul Quinn
Rep. Paul Quinn (D-Monroe City) visits with an MU alum at the legislative forum.
Boone County lawmakers discuss higher education issues at forum

The six state legislators whose districts include Boone County participated in a legislative forum hosted by the Mizzou Alumni Association’s Boone County Chapter Thursday, Jan. 18, in Columbia. The lawmakers each talked about their priorities for the session and answered questions from the crowd that included University employees and administrators, local business leaders and alumni. The annual event was co-sponsored by the MU College of Arts and Science Alumni Association. [See more photos and news from the alumni event…]

Jefferson City Chamber leaders hear about research successes at MU

Several members of the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce joined Columbia and University leaders and legislators for an overview of recent life sciences research success at MU during a breakfast event Thursday, Jan. 18, at the Jefferson City Country Club. The event, part of MU’s Scientific Partnership And Resource Connection (SPARC) program, included Greg Steinhoff, director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development; John Gardner, UM vice president for research and economic development; and Jim Coleman, MU vice chancellor for research. The program included an overview of several research projects in Columbia and discussion of the University’s significant economic impact on the state. Legislators who attended included Sen. Carl Vogel (R-Jefferson City); Rep. Paul Quinn (D-Monroe City); Rep. Mark Bruns (R-Jefferson City); and Rep. Tom Shively (D-Shelbyville).

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Senate Appropriations Committee holds hearings

The Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Sen. Chuck Gross (R-St. Charles), met twice this past week to hear public testimony focused on Missouri’s seniors and mental health issues. Public testimony for higher education is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 25, at 8:00 a.m. While the House has named committee chairs, committee assignments have not yet been completed. Until that announcement, there are no hearings in the House. 

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House passes student-loan interest rate bill

The U.S. House of Representatives approved HR 5 on Wednesday, Jan. 17, to cut interest rates on student loans. The House legislation, passed by a vote of 356-71, would cut the rates on need-based loans from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent over the next five years. The proposal, known as the College Student Relief Act of 2007, would cost about $6 billion and affect nearly 5.5 million students who have subsidized loans. Among the higher education organizations supporting the legislation are the Association of American Universities, the College Board, and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges. The legislation still must be approved by the Senate and signed by the President.

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