The Board of Governors met last week.
At the Finance and Facilities Committee, the board reviewed financial statements from last fiscal year. The university had a $6.4 million decrease in its operating fund reserve on the Springfield campus and a $229,000 decrease in its operating fund reserve on the West Plains campus.
These decreases can primarily be attributed to withholds of our state operating appropriation. However, we were successful at decreasing our expenses to offset a portion of those revenue losses.
I also updated the Finance and Facilities Committee on the current fiscal year.
As you know, our enrollment exceeded projections. For the Springfield campus, this resulted in $2.9 million in additional tuition and fees in the summer and fall.
Scholarship expenses were also $1.9 million less than budgeted, and the university saved $1.2 million in payroll and benefits through the hiring freeze.
Depending on the impact of COVID-19 on the spring semester, this additional revenue and expense savings may minimize the Springfield campus’s need to spend reserves to balance the FY21 budget as was initially anticipated.
Similarly, on the West Plains campus, additional tuition and fee revenue as well as scholarship and payroll savings will reduce the amount of reserves needed to balance the FY21 budget.
Parson releases appropriations
The board discussed Gov. Mike Parson’s recent decision to release $1.7 million of the university’s operating appropriation. I will reconvene the Executive Budget Committee in the coming weeks to discuss how to invest those funds in the university’s operations.
Parson also released $3.2 million for the Bright Flight program. This is half of the withheld funds for that scholarship program.
I personally met with Parson to advocate that the Bright Flight funds be released along with a portion of our operating appropriation. I am pleased those efforts paid off.
I hope you will join me in thanking Parson for supporting higher education, Missouri State University and our students during these difficult times.
Gourleys awarded Bronze Bear
The board voted to award the Bronze Bear to Robert and Marlese Gourley. Mr. Gourley is an alum of Missouri State University who worked his way through college and enlisted in the U.S. Army after graduation. Together the Gourleys started and owned a series of successful businesses in the Kansas City area.
For many years, the Gourley family has financially supported programs on the university’s West Plains and Mountain Grove campuses as well as scholarships and athletic programs on the Springfield campus. In 2015, the Gourley family made a significant gift to the MSU Foundation and the university named the 37,000 square foot addition to Glass Hall the Robert Gourley Student Success Center.
McClure selected for Government Excellence Award
The board also voted to award the Government Excellence Award to Mayor Charles Kenneth (“Ken”) McClure. McClure has tirelessly advocated for Missouri State University and the Springfield community throughout his career.
As mayor, he has provided an unprecedented level of leadership to protect our community during the coronavirus pandemic by establishing a mask mandate, facility occupancy and gathering restrictions, and other policies designed to mitigate spread of the virus. He also championed legislation to change the name of our university to Missouri State University during his time as chief of staff to Gov. Matt Blunt.
Recognizing dedication to public affairs
The board also approved a resolution acknowledging this year’s Excellence in Public Affairs Award recipients. This year’s faculty recipients include:
- Dr. Kevin Evans
- Dr. Lisa Hall
- Dr. Elizabeth Sobel
This year’s staff recipients include:
- Samantha Francka
- Diana Garland
- A’dja Jones
The award recognizes individuals with an established record of distinctive work and accomplishments in support of the university’s public affairs mission. Each awardee receives a $1,500 grant to be used for research, travel or projects related to their public affairs activities.
Other board updates
The board also received updates on key performance indicators and the long-range plan and strategic enrollment management plan processes.
Finally, the board elected officers for next calendar year. Beginning in January, the board will be chaired by Gov. Amy Counts, and Gov. Carol Silvey will serve as vice chair. I am excited to work with them as we continue to move the university forward.
Thanks for all you do for Missouri State!