Getting to Know MU President - The Missourian: Opinion

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Getting to Know MU President

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Posted: Friday, October 18, 2013 7:00 pm

he University of Missouri System is one of the state’s most prized assets. It should be a leader in the state and have an impact on citizens in Missouri. The System needs to reach out to every county in Missouri.

The University of Missouri on its four campuses is educating about 75,000 students. MU has about a half million alumni worldwide. It is one of the nation’s largest public research university systems.

Yet we doubt if many citizens of Missouri know that the president of the system is Tim Wolfe. He’s been the president only since 2012. He’s trying to change his lack of name recognition by doing media interviews and traveling around the state, making speeches and meeting people. He needs to do as much of that as time permits. It should be one of his highest priorities.

In Wednesday’s Missourian there was a story about MU’s impact in Franklin County. The university contacted one of our reporters and asked if The Missourian wanted to do a telephone interview with President Wolfe. The MU communications office told our reporter, Karen Butterfield, he would give a 10-minute telephone interview. Karen did a good job with the story.

resident Wolfe gave the latest statistics on how MU impacts Franklin County. The information had a 2012 date. The MU extension office in Union made about 30,000 contacts with county residents in 2012. He said there were 688 county students on the four MU System campuses. MU has 3,316 alums in the county. Some Franklin County residents were treated by University of Missouri Health Care. The number was 380 in 2012.

e thought this number would be higher: Twenty-three percent of teachers in the county and 31 percent of school administrators are MU alums. It must be noted that Franklin County has a rather large number of private schools, some of which hire graduates of private colleges and universities.

The best kept secret about the System is the research that is conducted at MU. The System needs to do a better job of telling the public about its research projects. Most Missouri residents have little or no knowledge about the research being done at MU.

In the interview, Wolfe talked about how important education is in economic development. The state needs an educated work force and higher education is vital in today’s economy. Students need to be motivated to seek higher education.

It is important that the president travel the state with the MU message. We realize that Wolfe has only been on the job since 2012, but he has no name recognition in the state. Even in Columbia he isn’t that well known. We asked several residents of that city, who are MU alums and are somewhat active with the university, if they had met Wolfe. They said no. They, like most Missourians, know little about his background.

Wolfe is pretty much an unknown. He’s got a positive MU story to tell. It’s important for him to tell it. He apparently is trying. He’s got a way to go! We wish him the best!

/opinion

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