Thank You for a Fantastic Homecoming Celebration and a Recap of the October Board of Governors Meeting

Thank You for a Fantastic Homecoming Celebration and a Recap of the October Board of Governors Meeting

October 24, 2023

Dear Colleagues: 

An enormous thank you to everyone who helped orchestrate a fantastic Truman State University Homecoming Celebration!  Spirits were high, the weather was beautiful, the football team was victorious, and our students, alumni, and honored guests had a spectacular time.  I am always thrilled when those who return to campus marvel at their experiences and comment about all of the great things currently happening at Truman.   

As part of the Homecoming celebration, we were excited to conduct a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Greenwood Interprofessional Autism Center.  Those in attendance were in awe and delighted with our efforts to honor the historical significance of the facility as the former Greenwood Elementary School.  The persistence and determination of so many individuals and organizations have made the vision a reality, and we cannot underestimate the powerful impact the Center will have to meet the needs of our community as well as provide outstanding educational experiences that will prepare our graduates to deliver much-needed services regionally and across the state.  

As has been past practice, we were pleased to have members of the Board of Governors, Foundation Board of Directors, and Alumni Association Board of Directors on campus for their annual October meetings.  These impressive alumni and friends provide unwavering service, dedication, and leadership to the University and serve as outstanding representatives of Truman.  Dr. Cheryl Cozette, Chair, led the October Board of Governors Meeting. 

Most of the meeting consisted of comments and reports from various constituents associated with the University.  Truman’s American Association of University Professors (AAUP) chapter submitted public comments through Dr. Marc Becker, Professor of History, on their recently completed State of the University survey.  Representatives of RubinBrown LLP accounting firm reviewed the annual audit of the University.  Dr. Tyana Lange, Vice President for Student Engagement, Enrollment and Marketing, provided an enrollment report analyzing this year’s enrollment numbers and sharing enrollment goals for the 2024-25 Academic Year.  Jerry Wollmering, Director of Athletics, provided the Annual Athletics Report.  Kerrion Dean, Chair of the Staff Council and Program Coordinator of the Center of Diversity and Inclusion, delivered the annual Staff Council Report.  Finally, during their committee meetings, the Board reviewed financial reports and received updates in the areas of academic affairs, student services, and on-campus construction projects.   

During my President’s Report, I highlighted three academic initiatives.  First, I noted that Truman recently received good press as the first school in Missouri to offer a bachelor’s degree in cannabis and natural medicinals, providing a significant opportunity for our students to be successful in a burgeoning field.  Second, I applauded the tireless work of Dr. Stephanie Maiden, Associate Professor of Biology, [and Biology colleagues Drs. Brett Berke, Joyce Patrick, Hajee Mendis, and Daniela Ostrowaski (now at ATSU)] to secure a Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) grant from the National Science Foundation to purchase a benchtop fluorescent confocal microscope essential for Truman to be competitive in preparing our students for the modern STEM workforce.  Finally, I referenced a second grant from NSF, which will give Truman and three other primarily undergraduate Missouri universities access to a new supercomputer to be housed at the University of Missouri-Columbia and used mainly for undergraduate research and courses.  Dr. Colin DeGraf, Assistant Professor of Physics, joined the partnership for this grant.  The project resulted from a planning grant that brought faculty from around the state (including Dr. DeGraf and Dr. Scott Thatcher, Associate Professor of Statistics).  Lastly, I reported that over 50 individuals have enrolled in Truman 101: How Truman Functions and provided an update on the Kirk Building construction project and the status of the Greenwood Interprofessional Autism Center.  

Regarding action items, the Board approved the purchase of the confocal microscope mentioned above.  They also authorized the execution of two proposals with Enliven Agency, LLC, one to provide data science marketing services as matching funds to the previously received MoExcels grant from the state of Missouri and the second to perform brand and marketing management services to support recruitment efforts.  Finally, the Board approved Henderson Engineers to provide engineering services for the HVAC Repair/Replacement Project to provide heating and cooling upgrades across multiple facilities.  Two items related to Naming Opportunities were tabled until the December meeting.   

The open session agenda from the October 20 meeting can be found on the Board of Governors website.  The next meeting of the Board is scheduled for Saturday, December 2. 

All the best,