Last week, the Missouri State University Foundation announced that it had received an eight-figure gift commitment from the C.W. Titus Foundation. The funds will support scholarships for students in the College of Arts and Letters. The funds will also support the university’s plans for an arts park and a permanent outdoor amphitheater.
At its meeting last week, the Board of Governors voted to name the College of Arts and Letters the “Judith Enyeart Reynolds College of Arts and Letters” in recognition of the gift from the C.W. Titus Foundation.
Reynolds worked in MSU’s department of English from 1966 until her retirement in 1994. She and her husband, Tim Reynolds (who is a trustee of the C.W. Titus Foundation), were long-time supporters of the university.
2021 budget update
The board also approved the university’s FY2021 budget. The budget assumes a loss of $9.25 million in state funding and an enrollment decline of 1,500 students.
These revenue reductions were offset with several cost-saving measures, including:
- Freezing 68 open positions through June 30, 2021.
- Eliminating online course incentive payments for faculty.
- Delaying the opening of the new residence hall.
- Reducing allocations for travel, classroom repairs, academic equipment and the president’s enhancement fund.
- Spending $4 million of university reserves.
The budget does not include across-the-board pay reductions, furloughs, layoffs or similar personnel actions. These decisions have been delayed until we know more about fall enrollment and how much state funding Gov. Parson will withhold.
I briefed the board on our plans to reopen in the fall. My remarks to the board were consistent with what I discussed at the town hall meeting and in my Clif’s Notes since the town hall meeting.
New plans, policies and directives continue to be developed.
If you have questions related to your specific situation, I would encourage you to talk to your department head or supervisor. Dr. Frank Einhellig and I will continue to update you through our campus-wide communications as central decisions are made.
Campus climate discussion
The board also had a long discussion about race relations and campus climate. All members of our board are well aware of current events and the national conversation on racism.
I updated them on campus incidents and the ongoing conversation among members of the campus community. I shared incidents I learned about through tweets under the #blackatmostate hashtag.
We discussed the university’s plans to address racism on campus before the fall semester and throughout the coming academic year. Our leadership team will discuss and further develop these plans at our retreat later this week.
Professional Building updates
The board awarded the consulting contract to Hood-Rich Architecture for renovations to the Professional Building. Hood-Rich will assess space in the Professional Building and determine how to convert it into appropriately sized classrooms equipped with up-to-date technology and state of the art research facilities.
As part of the planned renovation, the Speech, Language and Hearing Clinic will be updated, advisement and student collaboration spaces will be created, and many mechanical, life safety, electrical and plumbing systems will be replaced.
Design will occur throughout the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters. The first phase of construction is scheduled to begin next summer.
The contract with Hood-Rich is funded entirely with private gifts.
Thanks for all you do for Missouri State!