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MU Officials Launch ‘Mizzou Center’

Black named director

May 18, 2010

Story Contact(s):
Christian Basi,, 573-882-4430

Al Black will serve as the director of the Mizzou Center.

Al Black will serve as the director of the Mizzou Center.

COLUMBIA, Mo. ­— Today, University of Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton and MU Provost Brian Foster launched the “Mizzou Center,” a new center that will bridge connections between MU’s research and the Kansas City region’s industry leaders. Al Black, who previously served as the west central regional director for MU Extension, has been named director of the Mizzou Center.

“Mizzou is a major economic driver for the state,” Deaton said. “The tenants of this building will build partnerships, develop smoother transitions for technology transfer and create jobs. We’re very pleased that Al Black has accepted the position as the first leader of this initiative. He has served the university faithfully for nearly 40 years and his experience will be extremely valuable as we work to boost the state’s economy.”

Black will oversee several programs that will be housed in the Center. Some of the initial tenants that will be housed at the Center include the MU School of Information Science and Learning Technologies, MU Extension Food and Nutrition, the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers with the MU College of Engineering, Mizzou Career Services, and the MU Office of Research.

“I’ve always dreamed that MU would have an expanded physical presence in the Kansas City region,” Black said. “Over time, we’ve explored various options, but this is the ideal situation as many aspects of the university will be represented. It’s exciting to know that I’ll play a part of building something that will fundamentally change the landscape of the University of Missouri in the Kansas City region. It also will create opportunities for jobs, build connections with students, become a rallying point for alumni, and assist our development efforts.”

Black received his bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and master’s degree in business administration from the University of Missouri. He has worked with University Extension for 39 years.  As regional director, his responsibilities included administrative and programmatic leadership for extension programming in the region, personnel administration for more than 100 faculty and staff, and leadership for the 11-county extension councils with a total of 191 members. Previously he served as the area director for the five-county Kansas City metropolitan area and assistant director of fiscal affairs and management. He also has managed grant and contract programs and integrated new technology in the delivery of extension programs.

“This is another opportunity for MU to fulfill its statewide mission,” Foster said. “This is not about creating just any type of jobs. By creating new partnerships and engaging the expertise of our faculty, we want to enhance our technology transfer output, build robust student services in the region, and offer programs for the citizens in the region. The Mizzou Center is a step toward accomplishing those goals.”

Currently, the Mizzou Center is located in the Heartland Financial Building, located just south of I-70 in Blue Springs, Mo.