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President Wood, Fall 2011 Letter

Dear Alumni and Friends,

The first four months at Southwest Minnesota State University have been exciting. During this time I have talked with many Alumni, realized just how many of my friends are Alumni and observed the importance of the Alumni to the health and vitality of SMSU. In the months leading up to my appointment as Interim President many questions were raised when the Office of the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees commissioned a study on higher education in our region and what possible alignment could take place between SMSU and the neighboring two year college. The questions have been answered and we can move forward with a clear definition of the future.

Chancellor Steven Rosenstone visited the campus in early October and after the visit sent a letter to the campus community. Some excerpts tell the story. Said Chancellor Rosenstone, “I left campus enormously impressed by the spirit and commitment everyone has made to strengthen the university and its service to the region.” He further stated, “Your renewed commitment to partner with business and community leaders to identify and meet the economic needs of the region as well as your renewed energy to reach out to potential students who would thrive at SMSU are crucial to SMSU’s (and the region’s) future vitality. It is exciting to see the widespread interest in new ideas, new possibilities, and new models.” As a result of the visit he stated that “a national search for the presidency of Southwest Minnesota State University will begin in the summer of 2012 with the hope of completing the search by February 2013 to allow ample time for a smooth transition of leadership.”

I am proud to have been asked to serve as the Interim President of SMSU through this period of transition. We are embarking on some exciting new ventures. New programs and new scholarships are being established. Three new task forces have been established to make recommendations on the establishment of a School of Agriculture, a program to allow RN’s to bridge to a BSN, and a universal articulation agreement for students receiving an
associate degree in a technical field from a two year institution to have an educational track allowing them to complete a Bachelor’s degree. The programs reach out to the needs of our region and our students.

With the cost of education escalating to students and their families we have also established three major scholarship programs beginning with the spring semester 2012. The College Now Scholarship is for students who start their education with us while in high school, the Upward Bound scholarship is for students who would be first generation college students from a state wide program and the third scholarship is the Mustang
Transfer scholarship for students who have completed 60 credits or more at another institution. Our goal is to create an affordable environment for students to receive their education and in many cases introduce individuals to a great life on the Prairie!

My two years at SMSU will fly by. I am excited to be a part of the transition to a new era and new leadership at the University. Part of that excitement is the opportunity to meet the Alumni as they visit the campus, to hear the stories of years gone by, and the successes that have been made possible by the education they received at Southwest Minnesota State University.

Best wishes,

Ronald A. Wood, President
Southwest Minnesota State University

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