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Message to the UM Community

Dear colleagues,

Last week Chancellor Tom George and the UMSL campus hosted the Board of Curators meeting, and I very much appreciate their hospitality. The week before the board meeting, each of the campuses hosted President-designate Choi. I know he enjoyed meeting many of you and appreciated you sharing so many helpful and insightful comments. Thank you all for making him feel so welcome.

Interim Vice President for Finance and CFO Ryan Rapp presented the Efficiencies and Effectiveness report, an annual publication coordinated by the Office of Finance. This year’s report focused on the value of the system function and included an analysis that showed it would cost $80 million to $90 million to replicate the services provided by the UM System on the four campuses. For me, seeing the results outlined was really eye-opening and something that we should communicate outward to illustrate how the system efforts help us continue to be good stewards of our public resources. 

The UM System was created to support the campuses, not the other way around. Through shared services and economies of scale provided at the system-level, the university is more efficient and effective in our work and the campuses are able to free up time, effort and resources to focus on our academic mission –teaching, research, service and economic development.

As we draw toward the end of the year, I’ve spent a great amount of time reflecting on the progress that, as part of our university family, I’ve had the opportunity to witness. 2016 was a year of conversation, which helped us better understand our collective goals for the UM System. After all, conversation has a way of refocusing our purpose and reminding us just why we do what we do.

Recently, we highlighted some of the efforts members of our university community have been taking to create a brighter future. From offering opportunities to young Missourians by extending the reach of 4-H (MU Extension) and providing entrepreneurial learning opportunities (UMKC); to capturing important cultural moments during the Remember the Removal bicycle trek (MU); to empowering students to find success through innovative small business (UMSL); to providing opportunities that help students rise out of past circumstances (Missouri S&T); to moving toward greener, less invasive cancer treatments (MU Health), our four campuses, Extension and health system are taking steps every day to advance not just our university and communities, but the state of Missouri and the world. To read more about these projects, visit our webpage.

I am grateful for the chance to see our university community really come together. I feel a new sense of respect and comradery that is rejuvenating. Thank you to each of you for really reaching down deep to do your part and take time to think about what this university means to us. We’ve imagined what it could be and we have taken action to ensure that we live up to our own greatest expectations.


Michael A. Middleton, J. D.
Interim President

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