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August

30

2019

Campus Highlights - August 2019

Welcome back everyone!

This time of the semester—when I have the opportunity to welcome new and returning students, faculty and staff to our four universities—is such a privilege. I’m especially glad that MU’s freshmen enrollment increased by 16% and this year’s retention rate is the highest on record. UMKC, Missouri S&T and UMSL are also welcoming talented and promising freshmen classes. I know the coming months will bring a lot of positive change and success for our students and the entire University of Missouri System community.

To me, the start of the academic year is a good time to get back to the basics. Recently, I was reminded of the importance of taking stock of the fundamentals in an interview for The Collaborati, a leadership lifestyle podcast created by MU student Corey Gilmore. I enjoyed talking with Corey about my approach to leadership and appreciated the chance to reflect. Heading into a new school year, it’s more important than ever to remember the fundamentals of our mission as the state’s largest public research university system.

“I know the coming months will bring a lot of positive change and success for our students and the entire University of Missouri System community.”


In my state of the University address last fall, I reaffirmed our vision: to advance the opportunities for success and well-being in Missouri, the nation and the world. I also announced $260 million in strategic investments to support this mission, including $50 million for research and creative works. A major part of our strategy is to promote innovation and collaboration across the UM System. I’m happy to say that we’ve made real progress on that front by awarding up to $20.5 million to 19 research projects across our four universities — seven of which are major collaborations that will connect some of our brightest minds at our universities. Stay tuned for more updates. In the meantime, learn more about the individual projects and investigators in our recent achievements announcement.

“I enjoyed talking with Corey about my approach to leadership and appreciated the chance to reflect.”


Our four universities are also getting back to basics by focusing on ways to make a real impact that will benefit students and our community. The Mizzou Mentoring Program is seeking campus partners to connect students with mentors who will help them think ahead and launch their careers. UMKC is making plans to use $21 million from the Bloch Family Foundation and $15 million from the Sunderland Foundation to invest in student success programs and major infrastructure improvements. UMSL is partnering with a local St. Louis non-profit, the SoulFisher Ministries, to leverage a gift from Regions Bank into better employment outcomes for justice-involved individuals. Missouri S&T is reducing costs for students by providing three options for students to save money on textbooks as part of the UM System’s Affordable and Open Education Resources (AOER) initiative.

Our University’s incredible work doesn’t stop there. MU Extension is addressing Missourians’ most pressing needs by holding free workshops on repairing flooded farms, as well as providing other flood and disaster-related support resources. We’re also investing in our statewide network of Agricultural Research Centers, with today’s announcement of $6.5 million toward improving the centers so they can continue doing research that keeps Missouri’s farmers at the forefront of innovation. MU Health Care is maintaining high standards for patient care and was recently recognized as an Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) Certified Treatment Center of Excellence. And don’t forget to mark your calendars for Engagement Week from October 21-25. There’s going to be great events at all four campuses.

“I truly believe that making a difference for individual outcomes is one of the most basic and important missions we all share.”


I’m also enjoying the opportunity to make a difference in our community. A few months ago, I shared that I’ll be participating in the Over The Edge Fundraiser for Love INC. This event is noteworthy not only because I get to rappel off of the Tiger Hotel, but because it supports an organization that changes lives by illuminating a path out of poverty. I truly believe that making a difference for individual outcomes is one of the most basic and important missions we all share. If you are interested in supporting the work of Love INC, you can donate here.

I’m so proud of the ambition and success that our University community has shown through their hard work and dedication to improving the world we share. I’m also inspired by the stories of leaders who have set extraordinary examples for us. If you’re in Kansas City, please take a moment to visit the new statue that honors UMKC Vice Chancellor of Diversity Susan Wilson among a group of 18 contemporary icons of the African American community. To hear about one the UM System’s most inspiring past presidents, please join me on September 13th, 7 PM at the Missouri Theatre, for the premiere of “Only The Educated Are Free: The Journey of Michael A. Middleton,” which is free and open to the public. Stories like theirs help us remember our core values and that getting back to basics is key to continuing on the path to excellence. If you have a story to share about how our community achieves success by focusing on the fundamentals, please send it to president@umsystem.edu.

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