A new academic year has begun at the University of Missouri, and our students, faculty and staff are back to what they do best – changing the world through education, scholarship and service.
If you see more new faces than usual around campus, that’s because first-year enrollment increased by over 15% for a second year in a row (a 32% growth over two years!). These new students have the highest average ACT score in the university’s history. They are filling up our residence halls, bringing more incoming members to our sorority and fraternity chapters, and will soon be taking their talents and passions out into the community in any one of our more than 500 organizations.
To accommodate this remarkable growth, we are enhancing our facilities to strengthen our campus and fulfill our mission as the state’s flagship, land-grant institution.
You’ve probably seen the Jesse Hall dome is undergoing some much-needed preservation. Each day, workers are sandblasting, painting and scrubbing this MU icon back to its original 1895 character. And when completed in October, all 96 windows and their wooden frames will be replaced.
Later in the semester, we’ll see even more campus projects completed: On Homecoming weekend, we will be able to cheer on our Tigers from the new South End Zone. In November, our performing arts community will get to celebrate the grand opening of the new School of Music building, which will consolidate some of the resources currently spread across campus into a centralized, state-of-the-art facility.
As you can see, this year is off to a remarkable start. In addition, we just closed on another successful year of research and creative works here at MU. Research proposals and awards are up more than 20%, and our faculty and staff are being recognized around the world for their groundbreaking work – like Nobel Prize winner George P. Smith or CAFNR’s Tom Spencer, who was recently elected into the National Academy of Sciences.
And because great researchers deserve great spaces, we continue the hard work to ensure progress on the NextGen Precision Health Institute, set to open in 2021. I’m thrilled about the ongoing discussions for how our faculty, staff and students can leverage this upcoming space to build the future of health care and bring personalized, interdisciplinary treatments to every citizen in Missouri and beyond. Our partnership with Siemens Healthineers to boost research, train future biomedical engineers and ensure our scholars have access to the best possible technology will help us take that work to even greater heights.
As you no doubt see, we are building a Mizzou campus and family as big as the world. But none of this progress would be possible without your support. Our alumni and friends are the best of the best. I want to thank you for all of your contributions to these successes, and for your help taking all of this good news out into your communities and around the world. I look forward to many more years of working with you to build an even stronger Mizzou legacy.