Feb. 25, 2011

More than 500 alumni and supporters attend 37th annual UM Legislative Day

On Thursday, February 24th, more than 500 alumni, and friends of the University of Missouri System attended the 37th Annual UM Legislative Day at the state capitol. The day’s agenda included breakfasts and lunches with legislators, a rally, and informative displays from MU Extension, UMKC, Missouri S&T, UMSL and MU.

During Legislative Day, the volunteers shared what the University of Missouri means to them and distributed legislative district geographic maps to Freshmen legislators that were courtesy of the Alliance of Alumni Associations and Extension. During the rally, Governor Jay Nixon, Interim President Steve Owens, and Allumni Alliance Chair Ken Meyer spoke in support of the day’s events and activities.

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Governor Jay Nixon is thanked for his support of the University of Missouri System by Interim President Steve Owens (left) and Alumni Alliance Chair Ken Meyer (center) after his UM Legislative Day rally speech.

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From left to right: UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton, UM Board of Curators Chairman Warren Erdman, Senator Jolie Justus (D-Kansas City), and Interim President Steve Owens.

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Governor Jay Nixon speaks to UM Legislative Day participants and supporters.

UMSL holds legislative events

Members of the Chancellor’s Council and administrators at the University of Missouri–St. Louis met with more than a dozen state legislators from the St. Louis area Feb. 20 to discuss priorities for the 2011 legislative session.

Chancellor Tom George laid out several priorities including support for UMs operating budget request, the last third of an equity adjustment for UMSL totaling $10.8 million, and continuing need for $28 million for the renovation of Benton-Stadler, for which funding was originally appropriated in the Lewis and Clark Initiative. Legislators attending also heard from other Chancellor’s Council members and Senator Tim Green (D-St. Louis), who along with his six siblings, graduated from UMSL.

Calling himself “a grateful graduate,” Warner Baxter, president and chief executive officer of Ameren and a Chancellor’s Council member spoke of UMSL’s impact on the St. Louis region. “With more than 58,000 alumni living and working in the region, this university truly educates St. Louis,” he said.

UMSL Reception Feb. 11

From left to right, state representatives Clem Smith (D-St. Louis) and Bert Atkins (D-Florissant) talk with UMSL Chancellor Tom George at a meeting Feb. 20 of state legislators and members of UMSL’s Chancellor’s Council.

In another legislative event, UMSL Chancellor Tom George and members of the Chancellor’s Council Advocacy committee met with UMSL College of Optometry graduate and current Missouri House Speaker Steve Tilley (R-Perryville) to discuss legislative priorities for UMSL and the UM System. Speaker Tilley shared his thoughts on the best way to approach the members of the legislature this session.

UMSL Chancellor's Council Advocacy Committee with House Speaker Steve Tilley

From left to right: UMSL Chancellor Tom George; House Speaker Steve Tilley (’98 OD); Warner Baxter, (’83 BSBA) President and CEO Ameren Missouri; Martin Leifeld, UMSL Vice Chancellor of Advancement; Former Missouri State Senator Joan Bray; Frank Hamsher, Public Affairs Consultant; and Robert D. Millstone, President, The Millstone Company.

Longtime Mizzou sports announcer, John Kadlec honored by Missouri Senate

John Kadlec, sports commentator at MU for the last 40 years on the Tiger Network was honored by the Missouri Senate with a resolution on February 22nd. Kadlec was an all-conference lineman in 1950, and was the first to be pictured on the MU media guide that same year. He served as an assistant football coach at Mizzou under Don Faurot, Frank Broyles, Dan Devine, and Al Onofrio, and has been a Tiger administrator since 1986.

John Kadlec Senate Recognition

Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, left; John Kadlec, center; and Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia), right.

Senator Roy Blunt visits the Missouri Plant Science Center

On February 23, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) toured the Missouri Plant Science Center (MPSC) in Mexico that is scheduled to open this Spring. The MPSC is a new 25,000 square-foot facility that combines cutting-edge plant science research and manufacturing capabilities of soybeans and other plant-based materials. The MPSC is a joint venture of the City of Mexico, University of Missouri System, and the Missouri Technology Corporation.

Blunt visit to MPSC

From left to right: County Commissioner Steve Hobbs; Andrew Birney; Jason Hall, Executive Director of Missouri Technology Corporation; Mike Nichols, UM Vice President Research and Economic Development; U.S. Senator Roy Blunt; Joe Bannister, Chair of the Missouri Plant Science Center; Hank Belina, Arco Construction

Feb. 18, 2011

Appropriations Committees Hear Higher Education Testimony

Two legislative committees took testimony this week from Presidents and administrative representatives of the two- and four-year higher education institutions.  On February 16, the House Appropriations – Education Committee, chaired by Representative Mike Lair (R-Chillicothe), heard from University of Missouri Interim President Steve Owens.  . Next week, the committee will compile and vote on their recommendations for House Bill 3, the Higher Education Appropriations bill. Recommendations will then be submitted to the Chairman of the House Budget committee.

On February 17th, the Senate Appropriations committee, chaired by Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) took comments from Interim President Owens.  Interim President Owens’ testimony can be found here, and the presentation from the hearings can be found here. Others presenting included representatives from the Council on Public Higher Education (COPHE) and the Department of Higher Education.  

Bills related to curator selection move through committees

Two similar bills designed to solve the dilemma of curator selections in light of the state losing one of its nine congressional districts were considered before education panels this week.

HB 174 is sponsored by Rep. Mike Thomson (R-Maryville) who is chair of the House Higher Education Committee. The bill would allow for “at least one but no more than two” curators from each congressional district, which would maintain the current constitutionally mandated 9 member board. Statutes now prohibit more than one member from the same congressional district.  The bill was passed unanimously on February 15 after an earlier amendment to make one of the nine members a voting student was defeated 8-4.  Thomson has reported the bill out of committee and it is expected to be debated on the floor in the coming weeks.

SB 163 is sponsored by Senator David Pearce (R-Warrensburg) who is chair of the Senate Education Committee. This bill was heard on February 16 and is identical to HB 174. The committee is expected to consider the bill next week in executive session.

The Board of Curators passed a resolution in January supporting these legislative changes.

Bill to encourage science, technology, engineering and math support heard before Senate committee

A bill to establish a state matching program for faculty, equipment, programs and scholarships in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields was considered February 16 before the Senate Education Committee. SB 164, sponsored by Senator David Pearce would establish the program within the Department of Higher Education and create a fund for future state investment that would match corporate or private donations for the programs.

Chris Weisbrook, Faculty Fellow in Academic Affairs for the UM System, testified in support of the bill on behalf of the University. Others voicing support for the measure included the Missouri Society of Professional Engineers, University of Central Missouri, the St. Louis Community Colleges, and the Missouri State Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

An identical bill, HB 352, has been introduced in the House and is awaiting committee assignment.

University of Missouri Legislative Caucus has inaugural meeting

More than 75 legislators and other supporters participated in the first meeting of the University of Missouri Legislative Caucus Thursday, February 17, at the Capitol.  The Caucus, co-chaired by Senate President Pro-Tem Rob Mayer (R-Dexter) and House Speaker Steven Tilley (R-Perryville) was formed to provide an opportunity to inform interested legislators about the University of Missouri System and its impact on the state.

Senator Mayer, who has a law degree from UMKC, talked about how the University’s programs and services provide benefits to the citizens he and others represent.  Speaker Tilley, who has a degree from the School of Optometry at UMSL, noted how many legislators have connections with the University’s campuses and that the Caucus would help them learn more about the people and programs at UM. Interim President Steve Owens addressed the Caucus, reviewing some of the historical milestones of the University and reflecting on its mission. He encouraged the lawmakers to partner with the University to help it succeed, even in difficult economic times.

The featured guest of the Caucus was MU Head Basketball Coach Mike Anderson. Coach Anderson signed autographs, posed for photos with legislators and staff, and addressed the group about the importance of teamwork.  Coach Anderson also had the opportunity to speak before the House of Representatives and the Senate later in the morning.

Although the Caucus primarily features legislators who are graduates of one of the UM campuses, it also includes lawmakers who are parents of students at the University, or who have one of the campuses in or near their legislative district. Nearly 90 members of the House and Senate have formally joined the Caucus as of February 15.

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From left to right: Deputy MU Chancellor Mike Middleton, Interim President Steve Owens, House Speaker Steven Tilley, MU Men’s Basketball Head Coach Mike Anderson, and Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer.

Treasurer Zweifel Visits University of Missouri-St. Louis to announce MOST changes

Treasurer Zweifel announces MOST changes at UMSL - Small

Missouri Treasurer Clint Zweifel visited UMSL on February 8th to announce that Missouri’s college savings plan is now the 5th lowest cost in the nation because of an agreement with Upromise Investments. Zweifel was joined by UMSL Chancellor Tom George and students. The Treasurer’s press release on the visit can be found here.

Mel Carnahan Public Service Award announced by Truman School of Public Affairs

The Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri announced a new award on February 11th to honor those who are committed to public service. The award is named for former Missouri governor Mel Carnahan, who was elected posthumously to the U.S. Senate in 2000.

Mel Carnahan Public Service Award recipients will be chosen by a committee of Missouri residents involved in public service. A graduate fellowship will also be awarded to one or more MU students who demonstrate a strong commitment to public service. The fellowship recipient must be a student enrolled in the Masters of Public Affairs program in the Truman School. Fellows will receive a $1,000 stipend and a tuition waiver for continued study at MU.

Candidates may be nominated by students, faculty, individuals or organizations. Nominees are considered based on their commitment and contributions to public service. Fellows are chosen by a committee of Truman School faculty and students.  The first Carnahan Public Service Award will be made in the Spring of 2011. The award committee will accept nominations through the end of March.

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Former U.S. Senator Jean Carnahan announces formation of the Mel Carnahan Public Service Award in honor of her late husband.

Feb. 11, 2011

House committee considers curator selection proposal

The House Higher Education Committee conducted a hearing February 8th on HB 174, a bill sponsored by Rep. Mike Thomson (R-Maryville). Due to the 2010 Census, Missouri will be dropping from 9 to 8 congressional districts a statutory change is needed.

HB 174 would allow “at least one but no more than two” board appointments from each congressional district. The bill, which was supported through a motion approved in January by the Board of Curators, would make this change and also add similar wording for the governing board of Missouri State University and the state’s Coordinating Board for Higher Education.  The University of Missouri and Missouri State University provided testimony in support of the bill.  The only opposition came from the Associated Students of the University of Missouri, who prefer a plan to make the ninth curator a voting student.  The committee is expected to vote on the bill during its next meeting.

MU Extension shows impact of work in west-central Missouri region

Representatives of MU Extension and its west-central Missouri region came to Jefferson City February 8 to provide a showcase of programs provided in that area of the state. Legislators and staff from the region were invited to meet Extension leaders and hear progress reports over lunch about various programs in place including 4-H Youth Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Business Development, Community Development, and Human Environmental Sciences.

Several senators and representatives were on hand to ask questions and hear the latest on the programs. For more information, go to www.extension.missouri/wcregion

UMSL professors provide data to Urban Issues Committee

The House Urban Issues Committee held an informational hearing on February 7th to gather input on urban crime trends from law enforcement officials and experts, including two faculty members from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

UMSL professors Dr. Richard Rosenfeld, Curators Professor of Criminology, and Dr. Beth Huebner, Associate Professor of Criminology, provided the committee with a summary of urban crime statistics in St. Louis and Kansas City and engaged in a discussion with legislators about the causes of urban crime and steps lawmakers might consider to further lower the numbers.  

MO Treasurer holds press conference at UMKC to announce cost reduction in Missouri college savings plan

State Treasurer Clint Zweifel visited the University of Missouri-Kansas City on Feb. 8, 2011 to announce Missouri’s college savings plan is now the 5th lowest cost plan in the nation. A new five-year management agreement with Upromise Investments slashes costs of the do-it-yourself MOST 529 Plan by 44 percent.

The announcement also included a $500,000 financial assistance package agreement with Upromise for families who invest in the MOST savings program. Standing with UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton, Vice Chancellor Mel Tyler, students and Upromise and Vanguard representatives, Treasurer Zweifel said the public-private partnership is estimated to save investors $18.5 million. Zweifel anticipates Missourians will save millions of dollars.

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UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton (left) with Missouri Treasurer Clint Zweifel (right) at the cost reduction press conference held on the UMKC campus on February 8th.

Federal Relations Update

U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) announced on February 1st that he would impose a two-year earmark moratorium on all spending projects. This comes after U.S. House Republicans have vowed to also ban earmarks.

In addition, Representative Lynn Jenkins (R-Kansas) has introduced H.R. 529, which would amend the IRS code relating to 529 savings plans to treat computer technology and equipment as eligible expenses for 529 higher education plans. The bill has been referred to the Ways and Means Committee.

The U.S. House is likely to debate spending cuts for fiscal year 2011 next week, but House Republicans have stated they would not cut the Pell Grant funding for the current fiscal year.

Southeast Missouri legislator proud of MU professional degree recipients in the region

To say a town of 3,200 residents in rural Missouri has produced nine doctors with MU degrees in the past 30 years is unusual enough. When you also consider that all nine doctors graduated from the same high school and worked at the same grocery store, it is amazing.

Rep. Steve Hodges (D-East Prairie), who himself is an MU graduate, recently prepared a framed wall hanging featuring the photos and information on the nine doctors who all graduated from East Prairie High School and also worked for Hodges while he owned and managed the Tru Valu IGA in East Prairie. Hodges was associated with the store for more than 30 years, during which time he employed more than 500 high school students.

“Many of them went on to Mizzou,” Hodges said. “Our old high school has now become a school district museum, and when I was in there I visited a classroom dedicated to people involved in the medical profession. To my amazement, I realized there were several students I employed who had gone on to complete medical degrees and work in the profession. I figured we needed to provide more emphasis for that.”

Hodges went to work getting in touch with the nine students and secured photos and other information. He also learned of two additional doctors who also met the criteria – but didn’t work in his grocery store.  He had the framed hanging completed and plans to loan it to the school museum – that is if he can ever finish showing it to all the interested colleagues in the Capitol who come by his office.

The nine doctors are Dr. David Brumley, Dr. Jeff Emory, Dr. Cully Bryant, Dr. Steven Douglas, Dr. Lee Belvin, Dr. Brent Mayabb, Dr. Sherri Jackson, Dr. Justin Bain, and Dr. Trevin Mayabb.  Hodges has fond memories of working with the nine in the grocery store while they were in high school, although he declined to say which ones were the fastest checkers or best baggers.

“I would challenge any other town in the state to match me on this feat,” Hodges said.

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Representative Steve Hodges holds his framed piece with pictures of the nine doctors, all MU medical school graduates, who worked at his grocery store when they were in high school.

Upcoming Events

February 17th: First UM Caucus Event for Legislators
February 24th: UM Legislative Day