Sunny skies and warm temperatures gave way to cooler weather almost as soon as our annual Homecoming festivities came to an end. Suddenly, it was time to break out the warm clothes and start watching the leaves on the Oval change color.
With Fall Break now behind us and the holiday season on the horizon, I wanted to take a few moments to update you on some important developments.
- Because our budget picture is much more favorable than we had anticipated earlier this year, we’ll once again be able to offer another Lion’s Share distribution to our full- and part-time employees. Full-time employees will receive a net check of $750, and part-time employees will receive $375 (we’re covering the taxes this time, so you will receive the full amount). As announced during the most recent Board of Governors meeting, this is thanks in no small part to your efforts via the Great Game of Education. We all have a stake in the financial future of this university, and I’m pleased that everyone’s role in impacting the university’s critical number will again be recognized.
- When you get an opportunity, please help me welcome Mark Elliott, who was recently appointed to the university’s Board of Governors. Mark, who graduated from Carl Junction High School and attended Missouri Southern and Drake University, served in the Missouri House of Representatives from 1986 until retirement in 1994.
- Next month, we will honor Gary Nodler as the recipient of the Richard M. Webster Medallion. The award goes to an elected official who has made significant contributions to the public good and has demonstrated political leadership. Gary served in the Missouri Senate from 2003-11. Not only is he an alum, but he has been a great friend to this institution over the years. More details about the upcoming ceremony will be shared soon.
- Yesterday, we welcomed Missouri Governor Mike Parson to MSSU. Governor Parson’s primary reason for visiting was to promote Proposition D – a measure for an increase to Missouri’s gas tax, which will provide much-needed repairs to the state’s transportation infrastructure. (The issue will be on the November ballot.) After the press conference, Gov. Parson and his team stayed with us on campus, enjoying lunch and meaningful conversation about many issues. It was a pleasure having him here, and we look forward to his next visit as well as our collaborative work in the coming year. The university will have a chance to speak to other area legislators during our upcoming annual Legislative Brunch here on campus. It will be a chance to share our story with them and our plans to continue moving the university forward as they start their new session.
- I’m excited to announce that plans are also in the works for a new campus residence hall. We’ve commissioned architectural renderings for the construction, which would be located near the FEMA shelter. The need is certainly there – The Quads, our most recent residence hall addition, fill up almost immediately upon opening. I will keep campus in the loop as we proceed with this project.
- I’m very proud of the efforts of three of our faculty members – Dr. Renee White, Dr. Andrea Cullers and Dr. Megan Bever – as well as a number of our students to launch the new Lion Co-op. Seeing a need on campus to lend a hand to those struggling with the issue of food insecurity, they created a co-op that will be housed in the FEMA shelter. Food and personal items will be provided for students in need. Dr. White has said the support shown thus far has been “remarkable,” and it’s encouraging to see so many on our campus embrace an idea that fills such a vital need.
- Scholarships are another way in which the university and members of the community can serve our students who have a financial need. We recently awarded 31 students the Debra and David Humphreys Excellence Award. The scholarship was established in 2017 following a $1 million gift from the Humphreys family. The funds awarded will cover at least 50 percent of their tuition for the school year. The 2018 recipients are: Alexia Andro, Allyson Armstrong, Valerie Boswell, Caitlin Brock, Jesse Brumit, Melody Cunningham, Chelsey Curran, Emily Dagnan, Garrett Dunn, Alec Fehring, Austin Gripka, Matthew Gruenberg, Adam Haddock, Cayley Hardison, Cade Hensley, Emily Hoover, Willow Jones, Layne Karhoff, Natalee Lown, Allyson Marlett, Jordan McGonigal, James Nguyen, Joshua Painter, Andre Parrett, Rachael Polen, Taylor Pryor, Natasha Rowe, Eliza Tidball, Kennedy Tool, Alen Viray and Wade Yance. Congratulations to our Humphreys Scholars! We give our deepest thanks, once again, for the family’s commitment to helping area students continue their education.
- If you need assistance selecting plans for 2019 medical, dental, vision, flex and dependent-care insurance, you’ll want to attend one of the Open Enrollment Assistance sessions being offered this month by Human Resources.
Cigna Open Enrollment (medical, dental, vision, flex and dependent care elections)
Wednesday, Oct. 24: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Justice Center Rm 149
Thursday, Oct. 25: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Webster Hall Rm 307
Wednesday, Oct. 31: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Spiva Library Rm 418
The Standard Supplemental Enrollment (voluntary life, short-term disability, accident, critical illness, and hospital indemnity insurance offerings)
Wednesday, Oct. 24: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Justice Center Rm 114
Thursday, Oct. 25: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Webster Hall Rm 357
Wednesday, October 31: 10AM-2PM – Spiva Library Rm 413a
The insurance committee is currently working to find a middle option for those who have not found the existing plans at either end of the cost spectrum sufficient. Their work will hopefully result in a third option that our employees will find helpful.
- Finally, you won’t want to miss out on Southern Summit, set for Nov. 7-8. Employees are encouraged to attend the event, which will include educational sessions, “town hall” meetings and a keynote lunch. To reserve a seat, be sure to complete the online Summit Sign-Up
Once again, I extend my thanks to each and every one of you for your service to our students and campus community. Missouri Southern is such a positive force in the region and we could not be successful without your hard work and dedication.
Enjoy the fall weather!