MVC president wants to connect college more to the community

Tuesday, May 2, 2006
Bonnie Humphrey, Missouri Valley College's first woman president, discusses accomplishments and visions for the school's future. Humphrey will preside over MVC's commencement ceremony for the second time. Graduation this year will be held on Saturday, May 6.

On Saturday, May 6, Bonnie Humphrey will preside over the Missouri Valley College's 117th commencement ceremony, her second since becoming president of the college in January 2005, and MVC is beginning to see the results of her leadership.

One of her goals has been to reconnect the college with the community.

"One thing a college campus should do for a community is be a resource," she said. "We can't stand alone. The community is certainly integral to us."

One of the most visible examples of that mission was the State of Saline County forum which brought together leaders from county and municipal governments, small and large businesses and health care providers, hosted at MVC.

Some of the efforts to tighten the relationship between "town and gown" have just begun and will start to make their presence known in coming months.

Humphrey pointed to the new archaeology program as an example. Tim Baumann was hired in January to develop the program, and he envisions a strong service learning component that would get students out in the community, doing research and participating in projects that will make a difference.

"Students will develop a connection between MVC and Marshall and Saline County," she said. And she hopes that means some will stay in the area to live and work.

She also hopes to achieve a better balance in the school's reputation, with academics rising to the level athletics currently hold.

"We're known for athletics but what we don't always get across is that our athletes get a great education," she said.

Another service the college can provide the community is to bring resources to the area that wouldn't otherwise be available, as with the Maastricht Institute of Entrepreneurship, hosted by the college early in April, which brought business leaders together to discuss entrepreneurship.

Challenges remain. Humphrey acknowledged that the college's budget is one.

"You have to be a sound fiscal manager and somewhat conservative," she said.

Although a tight budget may limit what can be done to some extent, Humphrey said new initiatives will continue to emerge. Two possible additions to MVC's academic offerings on the horizon are an allied nursing program and a master's degree in cooperation with Lindenwood University.

Contact Eric Crump at

marshallfaith@socket.net

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