May 14, 2014

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Congratulations, class of 2014!

This weekend, 1,055 of you will walk across the stage inside the Gale Bullman Building and enter the next phase of your lives: as graduates of Missouri University of Science and Technology. Congratulations to each of you on this remarkable accomplishment! You have worked hard, spent long hours studying and conducting research, passed numerous tests, written countless papers and reports, engaged in new experiences, and stretched yourselves farther than you had ever imagined to reach this point in your lives. Throughout your studies here, you've also forged friendships that will last a lifetime.

You now join a global community of 55,000-plus Missouri S&T graduates, and I hope you will continue to stay in close touch with your alma mater as you begin new careers, new relationships and a new chapter in your lives. Please contact the Miner Alumni Association ( with your updated contact information to ensure you receive your award-winning Missouri S&T Magazine. Please also share your personal successes – a new job or promotion, additions to the family or other achievements – with the magazine staff.

While you soon-to-be graduates cross the stage in Rolla, I'll be in the audience in Valparaiso, Indiana, as my son, Andrew, receives his degree from my (and soon his) alma mater, Valparaiso University. It too will be a proud moment for me, and I will be with our Missouri S&T graduates in spirit.

Again, congratulations on this wonderful accomplishment, and welcome to Miner Nation!

Picture your success
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#gominersBefore you walk across the stage this Friday or Saturday, please share a few of these joyful moments on social media by taking a photo or two of your friends all decked out in your commencement attire. Take your selfies – or photos of your fellow classmates – and post them on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #GoMiners2014 and you could win a prize package from the Miner Alumni Association.

Leadership changes
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Robert MarleyI'm very pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Robert Marley as Missouri S&T's next provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. Robert will join us from Montana State University, where he is currently serving as interim vice president for student success. With nearly 30 years of research and teaching experience and a recent appointment as an American Council on Education Fellow, Robert brings a breadth of experience and knowledge that will serve our university well. Although he officially begins on July 14, Robert has already been on campus to get to know the other leadership team members and to meet with candidates for our two vice provost and dean positions.

Our current provost, Dr. Warren K. (Kent) Wray, will become our vice chancellor for global and strategic partnerships. Kent joined our campus as provost in 2006 and has done a wonderful job positioning Missouri S&T as a global leader in education and research. I look forward to working with Kent in this new capacity.

By the time next month's newsletter arrives, I should be able to announce two more important additions to our leadership team: the vice provost and dean for our College of Arts, Sciences and Business, and the vice provost and dean for our College of Engineering and Computing.

Adding to our signature areas
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During our General Faculty meeting on May 6, I announced the addition of two new signature areas for campus. This brings our total number of signature areas to four. They are:

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Advanced Materials for Sustainable Infrastructure
  • Enabling Materials for Extreme Environments
  • Smart Living

Each of these groups has distinctive strengths on which we can build to make them the nation's best. You'll be hearing more exciting news about them in the coming months.

Strengthening STEM education
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About 200 individuals have already signed up to attend an upcoming forum in St. Louis about the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education in growing the economy. I'm on the panel for this discussion, titled STEM: Growing Innovation in St. Louis, and I hope you'll join me by attending the event. It will be held from 7:30-9 a.m. at The Living World at the Saint Louis Zoo. Admission is free, but registration is requested by May 19. Register here.

Missouri University of Science and Technology