The evening of March 12th was an exciting time. As the phone rang, I quickly answered to discover the chairman of the MWSU Board of Governors on the other end of the line. “Congratulations” exclaimed David Liechti. “We would like to invite you to serve as the fifth president of Missouri Western State University,” he said. My wife (Noriko) and I jumped at the opportunity. We are so humbled and honored to serve you. We have been impressed with the campus community as well as the ongoing efforts of Dr. Vartabedian, the faculty, staff, administrators, and others. We have been touched by the outreach from the campus and St. Joseph community. We are so excited to assist you on a full-time basis once my tenure officially begins on July 1st.
Because I want to start connecting with everyone as soon as possible, I accepted the invitation from The Griffon News to publish a letter to students on campus this month. Along these lines, I wanted to introduce my background and share a few thoughts.
First and foremost, I want to thank you for choosing Missouri Western and being part of this important chapter in our history. I hope to connect with you soon at events on campus, at sporting events, at the Blum Student Union, or when walking around campus. If we are fortunate enough to cross paths, please stop and say “hello.” I always welcome your thoughts and feedback. Selfies are always welcome too.
As your incoming President, my primary mission will be ensuring that you receive a college degree. The importance of a degree to you, your family, your future earning power, your job opportunities, and our society is incredible. Research consistently shows that college graduates earn at least $1 million more during their lifetime and live about seven years longer than those who do not obtain degree. Please know that I want to you receive a quality education at an affordable price in a supportive and family-like environment. If obstacles get in the way of your pursuit of a degree, I want to be there together with others to help you overcome these challenges.
Personally, I am very excited to join with MWSU professors, staff, administrators, and alumni to invest in your success. Based on my recent visits to campus, I can tell you that everyone wants to see you acquire valuable knowledge and hands-on skills, graduate, obtain gainful employment, and achieve your dreams. During your time on campus, everyone is dedicated to you. We are going to work harder than ever to accomplish that. In fact, if you have ideas on how we can better facilitate your success here at Missouri Western, please let me know. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. I can tell you that faculty, staff, and administrators are here to help you. They really want our University to succeed, and they want you to succeed!
You also may want to know a little about me. Like you, I started my career path at a public university. And like many of you, I had to personally finance my entire education. Now I am an experienced educator, businessman, and lawyer specializing in domestic and international law. Over the past five years, I have lived in the Midwest in Akron, Ohio. At the University of Akron, I have served as a professor, college dean, and university president. Before Akron, I have lived in Asia (Japan and South Korea), the Pacific (the tropical paradise of Saipan), the Rocky Mountain region (Utah and Wyoming), and the South (Florida). Having lived around the world, I truly believe that St. Joseph is an ideal place to call home.
Finally, I deeply believe in developing strong connections with students so I pledge that my door will always be open to you. In fact, I am a longtime educator who loves teaching, participating in student activities, engaging in the music and arts, and even playing intramural sports. My commitment is to you as students. In fact, using my connections in Asia, I am actually on a “study away” trip right now with about 20 undergraduate honors students at the University of Akron during our spring break.
I am extremely excited about the opportunity to work together with you, and commit to providing you with the best educational experience possible. To accomplish that, I welcome your feedback and suggestions anytime.
Also, I am anxious to learn more about you. Please let me know about your achievements and positive experiences here at MWSC. Together, let’s explore ways to tell the positive story of our University to the world. In fact, it would be great if you could join with me in spreading the word. Please tell everyone around you about your positive experiences at Missouri Western, and recommend that others join you. Think about creative ways to spread the love of Griffs Nation.
Once again, thank you for being part of Missouri Western State University. I look forward to succeeding together going forward.
Matthew J. Wilson
Missouri Western State University