chats with matt

By: Christian Sarna

For this week’s edition, President Matthew Wilson discussed the potential for a split fall break, current measures to control the deficit and his Halloween plans.


Midterms hit hard — can we get a break in October?


During the fall semester, Missouri Western students have non-weekend time off every month besides October, be it the end of summer break, Labor Day, fall or winter break. According to Wilson, some students have approached him about the potential to split fall break in half with the first half taking place near midterms in October.


“I had a student reach out to me and she said, ‘Have you even thought about splitting up the Thanksgiving break?’” Wilson said. “‘I like that entire week off, but it doesn’t make sense.’ And I’m like, you’re right. It doesn’t make sense.” 

Wilson said that he was starting to ask students for input on the break but had no current plans to make a change.


“We’ve got a bunch of changes happening right now,” Wilson said. “I’m not going to rock the boat on this one, at least not this year.”


Do we still have an $11 million deficit?


The Board of Governors recently adopted a revised budget for the current fiscal year that reflects an operating deficit of nearly $3.2 million. While that number might not be ideal, Wilson said that he was confident Missouri Western could make changes to get out of the red, especially compared to the $30 million deficit he inherited when he became president at the University of Akron.


“One of the things that I’ve got a lot of experience in is turning around institutions financially,” Wilson said. “As you look at what’s important to an institution, it’s retaining students. Making sure that they’re getting through to graduation. I’m hoping that some of the initiatives, the energy, the excitement that we have on campus will keep students in school.”


Some of the initiatives Wilson is instituting for retention include service credit from the Center for Service, a global center and Gold Fridays, a free day every week for students to work, do professional development or even sleep in. While some students have questioned the motives behind this initiative, Wilson said that it is only financial in the sense that it will make Missouri Western even more attractive to potential students.


“Some people have asked, ‘Hey, is this a money saving endeavor?’ — it’s absolutely not,” Wilson said. “At my previous institution we actually rolled it out. This was a campus of 20,000 students and it was a hit with the overwhelming majority.”


In addition to recruiting and retention initiatives, Wilson has also stressed budget saving measures such as a focus on digital communication over printed paper whenever possible.


What are your Halloween plans?


According to Wilson, his Halloween will be spent speaking at the Small College Basketball (SBC) National Hall of Fame banquet. While he might not get the opportunity to dress up this year, Wilson said he still had a costume in mind.


“I would like to dress up as Ant Man, in true Marvel fashion,” Wilson said. 


Griffon basketball will be competing in the SBC National Hall of Fame tournament on Nov. 1 and 2nd at the St. Joseph Civic Arena. 

Have a question, comment or concern for President Wilson? You can submit them directly to his office at According to Wilson, he views every submission personally. For a chance to have your questions answered in the newspaper, send a direct message to @Sarna_GN on Twitter, a message to The Griffon News on Facebook or email

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