It has been an honor to be your president for the last five years. I have enjoyed meeting so many members of the Griffon family and learning all of the ways that Missouri Western State University has transformed the lives of our students, staff, alumni and community members. There is also much to anticipate as I look forward to the next five years of my presidency.
Our academic programs are the heart of our University. Missouri Western boasts uniformly positive accreditation visits across programs, a rare feat for a University. In fact, several of our accrediting body reviews have been filled with superlatives. Our faculty members are continuing to provide a high quality academic experience for our students and preparing them for an ever-changing workforce. Additionally, our faculty members work closely in providing students with excellent applied learning opportunities. The Missouri Western Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society was named International Student Chapter of the Year for 2013 and advisor Dr. Cary Chevalier was named International Student Chapter Advisor of the Year for 2013.
Our athletic teams continue to be extremely competitive. Last year we won two conference titles in very high profile sports, men’s football and baseball. Several of our student athletes have gone on to play in the National Football League and Major League Baseball, which is a strong testament to our athletic programs. At the same time our athletes were reaching new heights on the playing field, they also accomplished one of the most successful student-athlete academic performances in history. Watching the success of our student-athletes both on the field and in the classroom has been a highlight of my presidency.
Of particular pride are Missouri Western’s burgeoning arts programs. We now have more than 250 members in the Missouri Western Arts Society and numerous accomplishments, awards and special events in the visual and performing arts. In fact, the tremendous growth in these areas has necessitated the creation of the School for Fine Arts and the hiring of a founding dean.
On November 4, 2013, we dedicated the Walter Cronkite Memorial, a tribute to St. Joseph’s own “most trusted man in America” in the Spratt Atrium. More than 500 attendees celebrated the Memorial’s opening, and special guests included Governor Jay Nixon; Walter’s daughter, Kathy Cronkite; and Walter’s cousin and former mayor of Kansas City, Kay Barnes. It was truly a magical moment on our campus.
But that’s not all. As we look forward, there is much to anticipate.
The University is gearing up for its next capital campaign, which will prove a wonderful opportunity to build, support and elevate Missouri Western. Look for more details to come regarding this effort.
In 2015, we will celebrate our Centennial, a monumental occasion that speaks to the tremendous growth, adaptability, and impact that Missouri Western State University has had in this region and beyond.
Thank you for the honor of being your president for the past five years. I look forward to working with you to continue transforming lives.
Robert A. Vartabedian