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Community Voices, November 2014

This time of year is the perfect time to pause and reflect on the many things we have to be thankful for. Extra time with family and friends remind us of the importance of sharing our time, talents and treasures with others. At the University, the start of the holiday season coincides with the conclusion of our fall semester. At this time of year, we also reflect and are thankful for the partnerships, support and student accomplishments of the past year.

I had the privilege of speaking recently at the Ralco Innovation Summit in Balaton and was very impressed with the conversations around partnerships and collaborations. Partnerships among private industry, education and communities are important to enhancing job opportunities, improving quality of life and tackling the growing challenge of feeding the world. There is a true desire to encourage innovation in thinking and working together for the benefit of all.

This month our alumni fund drive kicked off with the annual fund raising appeal to raise dollars for student scholarships and other university projects. One exciting project is the new University Entrance Project, which features a new SMSU sign and bronze mustang sculpture that are being constructed on the peninsula in the new pond at the southeast corner of campus. Our most recent graduates have been remarkable in their financial support of this project. They have an unbelievable sense of pride in SMSU and they are demonstrating it by giving back to help construct this exciting addition to the campus. The privately funded project has a budget of roughly $250,000 and more than 90% has been raised to date.

Student accomplishments are a true measurement of our success at the University and we have much to be thankful for again this year. On Wednesday, December 3, close to 200 students will be sharing their academic talents on campus as part of our ninth annual Undergraduate Research Conference. Students from seventeen different academic areas will share both poster and oral presentations. The public is welcome to attend this exciting day and can find the schedule of presentations at

We also are excited to report out our latest employment statistics. Over 96% of our recently surveyed graduates are employed and 9% have gone on to continue their education at graduate school. Of course we are especially proud of our 2014 Women’s’ Volleyball Team as they captured the NCAA Central Region title this past weekend; we wish them the best of luck at the Elite Eight in Louisville, KY next weekend. Not only are they great athletes, but they are equally bright students – they are truly scholar-athletes!

We have much to be thankful for at SMSU and are proud to be part of the Marshall and surrounding communities. Without the support of our many alumni, donors, boosters, parents and friends, many of our accomplishments wouldn’t be possible. Thank you for supporting the students of SMSU and for making a difference.

Published in the Marshall Independent on Saturday, November 29, 2014.

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