I am humbled and honored to serve as interim president of the University of Missouri System. It is a challenging time for our university, a time full of change and mixed emotions including confusion, concern, anxiety, anticipation, and hope. I cannot know what each of you is feeling, but I share in this experience with you.
The mission of our great university is to discover, disseminate, preserve, and apply knowledge. Our purpose is to promote life-long learning and innovation as well as advance cultural, social and health interests of the people of Missouri, the nation, and the world. We are being called upon to directly confront many uncomfortable cultural and social issues. These are ongoing issues throughout our university family, the state, and the nation. How we respond right now will define us. So, let us embrace these issues with courage and the conviction that every member of our family deserves to be heard, deserves respect, and deserves equal access to a safe space where we can voice and explore our needs and feelings.
I am heartened by how so many of our faculty, staff and students throughout the system are coming together. As a reminder, the university provides resources to help meet your individual needs, which can be found at http://umurl.us/support. On a personal level, I encourage you to support each other and use these resources if you need them.
The time has come for us to collectively move our university forward. I believe that together, right now and over the long and cyclic run, we will create the university we can imagine: one of respect, one of inclusion, one of pride.
Mike Middleton, JD