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University president addresses campus future in tough economy

I have been asked to address how the campus in holding up during these tough economic times and what can be expected in the future.

We are making the best of a challenging economic climate. One recent example of this would be this year’s homecoming celebration. This was the best homecoming that I have experienced in my four years here. The campus-wide signage, the level of student participation, and the general atmosphere of enthusiasm were all quite impressive.

Other points of pride include:

• A seventh consecutive year of record enrollment
• International recognition of our Wildlife Society
• The growth of the arts areas ­­including a new Missouri Western Arts Society with close to 200 charter members
• National recognition for the Griffon Indoor Sports Complex as one of twelve noteworthy intercollegiate athletic facilities in the United States

I have many other examples of recent accomplishments and special recognition for Missouri Western. My point is that we have not stopped moving forward, and these are highly visible examples of that.

With regard to resources, we are pursuing a number of avenues above and beyond our on-going struggle for funding fairness:

• We are exploring land leasing opportunities of our land in order to generate additional money.
• We are examining alternative energy sources for our campus.
• We are actively seeking grants from external agencies.
• Our advancement office has stepped up fund raising efforts and will shortly be preparing for our next capital campaign which will coincide with our centennial celebration.

Regarding our on-going struggle for funding fairness, we are getting significant support for this from our legislative delegation. In fact, there is an expressed willingness on their part to introduce legislation on our behalf. This will literally become a “campaign” for Missouri Western as we attempt to move this forward. I think we have successfully communicated our “need” to our various constituencies, now we are in the “action” phase.

Since the economic free fall in 2008, Missouri Western has experienced its share of additional financial challenges. It has not been easy, but we have continued to move in a positive direction. I believe we are now poised to move even further.

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