Friday, Oct. 8, 2021
Dedicated students, distinguished colleagues and dear friends,
Happy Friday – and Happy Homecoming Weekend to Miners everywhere!
“Elevate Missouri S&T, Establish Broad STEM Outreach, and Ensure Economic Impact.”
Tomorrow marks the first anniversary of the transformational gift that Fred and June Kummer bestowed on S&T. At about 3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 9, 2020, from his kitchen table, in presence of June Kummer, Joe Lehrer and myself, and with all other members of the Kummer Institute Foundation board on Zoom, Fred called his accountants and bestowed the largest gift in the history of the state of Missouri to S&T.
To put things in perspective, consider that according to The Chronicle of Higher Education, 146 charitable gifts exceeding $100 million have been given to benefit higher education worldwide since the Chronicle began keeping record in 1967. Of those, 117 benefit a single university in the U.S. Fred and June Kummer’s gift of $300 million to S&T in 2020 is not only the largest in Missouri history, it also is the fifth-largest gift to a public university in the history of charitable gifts in the U.S. Missouri S&T is one of only 15 unique universities to receive a gift of $300 million or more. Today the monetary value of the gift is above $400 million, thanks to the generosity of many of our alumni who were inspired by Fred and June and who have contributed to our ambitious plans, which will cost significantly more than the total. We are well on our way to achieving our North Star goals of growing enrollment to 12,000, attaining Carnegie R-1 research university status and becoming a top 100 doctoral-granting university as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
I met Fred shortly after joining S&T. I met with him weekly, with June frequently joining us, and over the course of the next 14 months, we hammered out a “Kummer Plan” to build on our foundation of academic excellence to have an even greater impact on S&T and beyond. And on Oct. 9, 2020, the Kummer mandate was established: Elevate S&T, Establish Broad STEM Outreach and Ensure Economic Impact.
We have made significant progress in each of these areas over the past 12 months. Tomorrow morning, we will gather in Leach Theatre to celebrate the Kummer gift and the progress we’ve made.
About 460 freshmen on our campus this fall are Kummer Vanguard Scholars. These students benefit from scholarships and programming to help them become the tech-savvy innovators our country needs. In addition, 100 Ph.D. students (10 are already enrolled) will enroll as Kummer Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E) Doctoral Fellows, each of them focused on innovation and entrepreneurship in their studies. You’ll hear from some of these Vanguard Scholars and I&E Fellows during tomorrow’s event. In addition, we will have 20 endowed chairs and professors who will advance our research and technology development functions.
We are broadening STEM outreach through our new Kummer Center for STEM Education, which is creating opportunities for educators to learn more about teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics topics to elementary, middle school and high school students throughout our state.
We are elevating S&T through our new Kummer College of Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Development, which our provost, Dr. Colin Potts, describes as “the business school for the mid-21st century.” It is much more than a business school, however, as its emphasis will be true to our enduring legacy of discovery and innovation.
Through their generosity, the Kummers inspired many others to step forward with significant donations to S&T. They include donors like Anthony Steinmeyer and Rosemary Kilker, who were inspired by the Kummer gift to contribute to our cause in the form of an endowed chair position in economics and scholarships for chemical, mechanical and aerospace engineering students; Bipin and Linda Doshi, who endowed the Doshi Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering shortly before the Kummers announced their gift; and several donors to our Arrival District, including Tim and Kay Bradley, Mike and Joyce Bytnar, Gary and Judy Havener, Jeff and Pat Sheets, Steve and Betty Suellentrop, and Tom and Carol Voss. In addition, Gary and Judy Havener donated funds to establish an endowed chair in Gary’s home department of mathematics. We are grateful to all of these generous and dedicated alumni, and to countless others who have contributed small and large amounts or have supported us in many non-monetary ways.
As many of our alumni and friends return to campus this weekend to connect with our students and re-connect with each other, I’m once again reminded of how important these connections are. Fred Kummer was a stellar example of the importance of these connections, and I’m looking forward to celebrating the impact he and June have made on our university during our first Kummer Day celebration tomorrow morning, when I will read the very first Chancellor’s Letter to Fred and June. Kummer Day will become an annual event, as will the reading of the Kummer Letter. Our first letter will be placed in our sesquicentennial time capsule to be opened in the year 2071, when many of our first cohort of Kummer Vanguard Scholars and Kummer I&E Fellows will be at hand as senior alums to speak about this first celebration event. I encourage all of you to attend this event, in person if possible or virtually. Please join us to get “the rest of the story,” as radio commentator Paul Harvey used to say.
I hope to “see” you tomorrow at the inaugural Kummer Day celebration!
Have a great homecoming weekend.
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