June 20, 2008
When we first arrived at Mizzou in August of 1998, our team of folks in the Athletic Department determined that in order for us to do our jobs, we couldn't do them properly from behind our desks in Columbia.
It was critically important for us to recognize that we weren't the "University of Columbia" but rather the "University of Missouri." It was our collective responsibilities to actively reach out to folks around the State of Missouri in a consistent and sincere effort. We dubbed that initiative our Statewide Outreach, and for 10 years now, we have been doing that on at least a monthly basis, and most times more than once per month. There are 114 counties in Missouri - and we're proud to say that we've been to every single one of those counties at least once, and most more than one time.
Our message is simple - we want to continue to thank our constituents around the State of Missouri for their support of the entire University of Missouri. While we certainly represent our athletic interests, we are simply one small component of this larger and more important conglomerate called the University of Missouri.
We constantly ask folks to come to Columbia, to send their children to Mizzou, to contribute to our efforts, to support Higher Education, to use our research findings, to help us - and the list goes on. When you are asking so many people to help in so many ways and to come to see you in Columbia, it only seems appropriate (and right) that you visit them on their "home base" and say thank you - as well as solicit their ideas and answer their questions.
For these 10 years, it has been remarkable to see the impact this has made on our state and our constituents. The pride that Missourians have in the University of Missouri is at a very high level right now, and hopefully that trend will continue. Our folks recognize we have great leadership in Dr. Brady Deaton (Chancellor), President Gary Forsee, Dr. Brian Foster (Provost) and our entire leadership team at Mizzou. The combination of the academic strengths of Mizzou, our faculty, staff and students make it a very special time at the University.
Earlier this week, I was fortunate to take a statewide outreach trip to Pemiscott and Dunklin Counties in Missouri. Our trip included Jimmy Jackson (Football student-athlete), William Moore (Football student-athlete), Dave Christensen (Assistant Head Football Coach), Gary Link, John Kadlec and myself. We went to Caruthersville, Hayti and Kennett. It was an absolutely terrific trip to showcase our core values of academic integrity, social responsibility and competitive excellence.
Jimmy Jackson is from Caruthersville and William Moore is from Hayti. The "welcome home" for both of these student-athletes was overwhelming. The messages that both Jimmy and William delivered centered on making wise decisions, focusing on classwork and striving to do your best in everything you do. Finally, they both delivered the message of the great experiences they are having at Mizzou - academically and athletically. Our final stop in Kennett allowed all of us to talk to a crowd of approximately 100 of the great things happening at the flagship institution of the State of Missouri.
Pleae take a moment to check out some of the photos from our trip in the gallery above.
Outreach efforts - a conscious decision on our part to continually engage the citizens of Missouri in the unique attributes of the University of Missouri. This has been a tremendous amount of work, but one that has benefited all that we are trying to do at our school. Rest assured that there will be many more stops to come.
- Mike Alden