Friday, Oct. 15, 2021
Dedicated students, distinguished colleagues and dear friends,
Our academies; our trusted advisors, our foundational support pillars.
Last week was our annual MinerFest Homecoming celebration, and one of the highlights for me was getting to meet with the many alumni who returned to campus. It was an absolute delight to see so many of our alumni return after two years, given that COVID-19 folded our in-person, on-campus MinerFest celebrations last year.
For many universities and their grads, homecoming is mainly a time for tailgates and cheering on the home team. We had plenty of both last weekend, but we also had something else – something intellectually engaging, uniquely informative and highly participatory that makes our fine university stand out from the crowd:
Missouri S&T’s eight academies are advisory and advocacy groups made up of veteran graduates and professionals associated with S&T. Seven of our eight academies are affiliated with their relevant academic departments, while one is connected to Miner athletics. In every case, these academies are made up of alumni and friends who are selected for their contributions to their profession, for their leadership and for their involvement with S&T. As reported in this 2016 Missouri S&T Magazine article, academy members are also “trusted advisors and true believers, stakeholders and sounding boards, investors and advocates.”
From the very first of these groups – the Academy of Civil Engineers, established in 1972 – to the newest – the Academy of Miner Athletics, formed in 2011 – each and every academy shares a common vision: to make S&T a better, stronger, more resilient university. And they do so by raising funds for priority projects, supporting scholarships for students in their disciplines, returning to campus as guest lecturers, and providing a sounding board and sound counsel for their department chairs, their dean and me. Six of our academies returned to campus last week to get together and, for some, to induct new members. Our other academies will meet next spring.
Left to our own devices, we academics could mainly focus on our exciting theoretical and hypothesis-driven research. Some may say, there’s nothing wrong with that. I say, as long as we don’t become insular in the process and we balance and align our work with the needs of the society, community and industry of today and tomorrow. Our academies, made up of industry leaders, help us achieve this balance and alignment. They offer the state-of-the-art, real-world experience and understanding we need to develop our strategies for the future. They are true partners in progress for us, and we vitally need and appreciate their support.
And so, I say, to modify a line from winners of the Oscars, “I’d like to thank the academies!” For their guidance, wisdom, foresight, and generosity of time and financial support. Our academies are shining stars that make Missouri S&T even brighter.
Even if you are not an academy member, we welcome your advice and guidance. Several other avenues exist to become involved, such as the Miner Alumni Association Board of Directors, which met Saturday. I had the great fortune of participating in many of their discussions. I also had the opportunity to meet with members of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee for African American Recruitment and Retention, which met Sunday, and I am grateful for all their help in recruiting and retaining stellar African American students.
For our younger alumni, as you progress in your careers, don’t be surprised if you are called upon to join one of our academies. I hope you’ll answer that call and help us continue along our path to become an even greater university in the future.
I’d love to tell you about other ways you can get involved! Please, drop me a line at email@example.com and share your ideas for further advancing S&T. I look forward to hearing from you.
In the meantime, check out the latest news from S&T:
Have a great weekend!
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