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MU Chancellor: Missouri’s flagship institution is ready for the future

In “State of the University” speech, Cartwright underscores progress and urges continued focus to build upon Mizzou’s strengths

August 22nd, 2018

Story Contact: Christian Basi, 573-882-4430,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – During a campus address Wednesday, University of Missouri Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright noted the progress made in the past year and described new efforts to enhance student affordability; deepen a commitment to the arts; boost research; and improve education, the economy and healthcare throughout Missouri.

“As the state’s flagship, research and land-grant university, we are the University for Missouri,” Cartwright said. “We strive to educate the future workforce with the best skills possible in an environment enriched by the arts and humanities and committed to the creation of new technologies, treatments and knowledge. We stand side by side with Missouri’s citizens in finding answers to the challenges we all face.”

In his speech, Cartwright said that the university continues to address affordability. For the 2019-20 academic year, Mizzou will expand scholarships by dropping class rank from calculations for the Chancellor’s Award ($6,500/year), the Mark Twain Scholarship ($7,000 – $15,000/year), and the Black and Gold Scholarship ($7,500 – $15,000/year). Additionally, Mizzou will guarantee that high-achieving students who apply for admission will be notified of their acceptance within two business days.

“We want students to worry less about paying for college so they can focus on their academics,” Cartwright said. “At the same time, we are working to improve the quality of the Mizzou academic experience and provide opportunities to develop leadership skills. This spring, the Novak Leadership Institute will launch a new course on leadership that will be available to 200 undergraduates from every major on campus.”

Cartwright also said that the Artist in Residence program, which was announced in February, will be launched in September. The program will bring nationally recognized artists to campus for high-visibility events. The artists will stay for one or two semesters to engage with the campus community.

“We are challenging the schools and colleges to continue hiring exceptional faculty in every discipline and build on strategic strengths,” Cartwright said. “Earlier this spring, we broke ground on a new facility for our School of Music. We also are focusing significant efforts on building a Translational Precision Medicine Complex (TPMC). These facilities are key to attracting and keeping stellar faculty in every discipline and will help us meet our goal of doubling externally funded research within the next five years.”

To assist with the TPMC effort, Cartwright has appointed College of Engineering Dean Elizabeth Loboa as the vice chancellor for Strategic Partnerships, a position she will hold in addition to her duties as dean. In this dual role, she will be the primary MU contact for the UM System Precision Medicine Initiative, oversee the TPMC public-private partnership planning, and evaluate best practices throughout the nation to ensure MU is on the cutting edge of this field.

Finally, Cartwright said that the new Office of Extension and Engagement will open in spring 2019. The office will enhance the university’s connections with the state’s citizens in many different ways. The office is a part of a major restructuring of Extension offices across Missouri to focus on three critical issues: education, the economy and health care.

“This office will challenge how we think and foster deeper engagement and outreach across the university and the state,” Cartwright said. “We have met and listened to people from every county in the state as part of an ongoing conversation.  We are building connections and understanding with Missourians to bring MU’s talent and expertise to critical needs.”

The new office will work across every college and school, MU Health Care, Intercollegiate Athletics, the MU Alumni Association, and other areas to advance the cultural expectation and practice of engaging with people inside and outside of the university. Current examples include:

  • Service learning opportunities, such as alternative breaks.
  • Continuing education.
  • Athletics partnership that places athletic representatives on every extension council in the state.
  • Art on the Move – a program that is bringing art and art programs to counties throughout the state.
  • School of Health Professions outreach – a program that brings important resources and programs, such as physical therapy, to citizens throughout the state.
  • Science on Wheels – a “broader impacts” program that showcases how science in multiple disciplines impacts Missourians every day.

Cartwright also stressed several accomplishments over the past 12 months, noting the hard work and commitment of faculty, staff, students, alumni and donors. Those accomplishments include:

  • A record-breaking fundraising year – MU’s current campaign exceeded the $1 billion dollar mark and brought in a record amount of cash donations as well as a record $13.7 million on Mizzou Giving Day. These investments in the university’s future contribute to student scholarship and research.
  • Enrollment — freshman enrollment has increased by more than 540 students compared to last year — approximately 13.1 percent increase from last year. This is the largest increase in the freshmen class in 10 years.
  • Record retention rate – freshmen returned to Mizzou at a rate of 87.5 percent, the highest in Mizzou’s history.
  • Successful career outcomes – a recent survey showed that more than 90 percent of MU students were immediately employed, enrolled in public or military service, or continued their education upon graduation.

Editor’s Note: Transcript of Chancellor Cartwright’s speech available here.