Go to navigation Go to content

A Note to the University of Missouri Community from President Gary Forsee


Christian Basi

February 18, 2008

Newsrooms: The following message was sent Monday morning via e-mail from University of Missouri President Gary Forsee to stakeholders across the UM System. It is provided for your information and reference.

This is the first day of my presidency of the University of Missouri. I'm excited about working with you, and for you.

Since my appointment was announced last December 20, I have received so many enthusiastic expressions of support. These expressions really reflect intense passion and deep devotion for our institution. It will be my job to direct that passion and devotion, to ensure that the University is able to thrive and fulfill our critical missions of teaching, research, service and economic development.

I need your support. Even as I ask for your support, I know that I must earn your respect, and I pledge to work to deserve it. I come from a 35-year professional background that includes leading large, complex business organizations. It's true that higher education is a new career field for me - but higher education isn't a new passion for me. The University of Missouri is my alma mater, and I have been an active supporter of its work and ambitions to become world-class. In my new job, I have a unique opportunity to give back to the institution we love.

On Day One of my presidency, I pledge that there will be no bigger advocate and no louder voice for what our students need, what our individual campuses need and what the faculty needs. I will be your advocate in Jefferson City, in Washington, D.C., and wherever I can help tell the positive story of our institution and build on its tremendous base of support and its successes.

I have already been on a learning curve - back to school, if you will. I've visited with many members of the faculty, students, administrators, alumni and friends of the University. I've had conversations with our chancellors about the needs and aspirations of our four distinctive campuses. I've conversed with many of our state's leaders in education, government, media, business and economic development. I've been in the state Capitol and on each of our campuses - in fact, during a visit to UMKC last Friday, I dropped into a residence hall room for a great impromptu visit with students (and I'm sure they're still wondering what THAT was about!).

From these conversations, I have begun to develop some observations. These include the need to engage quickly with students, with faculty and with the campus staffs and administration. I've learned more about the support we need from Jefferson City and Washington for our operating budget and capital programs, and particularly for competitive faculty salaries. We need to maintain affordable tuition and strong financial aid programs, while extending the University's teaching mission through distance learning. We need to search for and maximize opportunities to serve as an economic growth engine for our state through the University's groundbreaking research and encouragement of entrepreneurship. And we must strengthen our public conversations about the unique role our University plays in Missouri.

I look forward to getting better acquainted with you. For now, you can learn a bit more about the role of the UM president, and about me, by visiting http://www.umsystem.edu/president.

To the students, faculty, staff, alumni and our worldwide family linked by passion for the University, I ask for your help, and your support. In return, I pledge my dedication and my best efforts on behalf of our institution.


Gary Forsee


University of Missouri