Ross notes CMU’s achievements, gives plans for future at State of the University address
University President George Ross focused on Central Michigan University’s history, achievements and future goals during the State of the University address Thursday afternoon.
The address was made on the 120th anniversary of CMU’s existence, and Ross spoke about how far the university has come since then.
“(CMU has) 120 years of top-notch education, serving not only the students in our classrooms, but through our alumni, inspiring hundreds of thousands of school-age children,” Ross said.
Ross addressed the beginnings of Central Michigan Normal School in 1982.
“On this day in 1892, CMU opened it’s doors as Central Michigan Normal School and Business Institute. A class of 31 students began their studies that day, in a new building in downtown Mount Pleasant,” Ross said. “Obviously, life has changed a little in 120 years.”
The present was also an important part of the address. Ross spoke about many of the academic successes the university has had. He highlighted the achievements of chemistry professor Dillip Mohany and assistant professor of biomedical and environmental materials Anja Mueller.
Mohany recently invented a way to capture mercury from coal-fired power plants and convert it into a material that can be disposed of in landfills.
Mueller patented a chemical compound that filters out 300 times more chemicals from water.
CMU’s excellence in teacher education was also a talking point. Ross pointed out that a CMU alum has won Michigan’s teacher of the year award two years in a row.
Alum Paul Galbenski, a business, management, marketing and technology teacher at Oakland School’s Technical Campus, earned the award in 2011 and alumna Bobbi Jo Kenyon, a science teacher at Ottawa Hills High School, was this year’s award winner.
“Now, that’s a tradition of excellence,” Ross said.
Ross spoke about the university’s success in raising 60 percent of the funds needed for the new CMED program, which will open it’s doors to the public for the first time on Sept. 21. The inaugural class will begin school in 2013.
“For the College of Medicine, we’ve raised $14.1 million – 56 percent of the $25 million goal,” he said.
He also talked about the new bioscience building receiving $30 million from the state.
“The facility will serve more than 7,500 students who study and do research in biology every year,” Ross said. “It will provide much-needed research space for our faculty.”
The usage of the university’s online courses have increased.
“We added 22 new online courses,” Ross said. “We had 22,295 online course registrations — 4,300 more than last year.”
Expanding the university’s impact in new fields was the major point of the future.
“CMU’s future includes superior programs in health related fields,” Ross said. “On a grand scale, CMU’s future is that of a powerhouse in health-related careers.”
Ross praised the budding programs by noting the 100 percent pass rate of CMU students in several College of Health Professions programs.
Ross spoke about a $10 million dollar EPA grant that will allow students to help with research that will help keep the Great Lakes healthy and referenced the university’s involvement on Beaver Island.
“We’ve completed a landmark mesocosm system at CMU’s Beaver Island Biological Station,” Ross said. ” And to complete the Beaver Island excitement, we’ll soon moor a 32.5-foot research vessel there. The ‘RV Chippewa’ will deploy scientific equipment in deep water and have an on-board laboratory.”
Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services David Burdette was happy with what Ross said.
“History is always interesting because it serves as a context for the future,” Burdette said. “It’s uplifting in the sense that he is talking about our future and where we are going.”
Trustee Robert Wardrop has a positive outlook for the future of CMU under Ross’ direction.
“I think President Ross did an excellent job. He’s a dynamic speaker and a dynamic leader for the university,” Wardrop said. “We’re going to overcome everything from last year and move forward very dynamically.”
Trustee Bill Kanine also showed his support for the president’s speech.
“It’s a tremendous celebration when you have been around for 120 years and you can talk about all the successes and great things the university has done over that time,” Kanine said.”I think he did great job.”
Student Government Association President Justin Gawronski said Ross touched on all the major points he was hoping for.
“I was very pleased with it. I think Ross hit everything he needed to hit,” Gawronski said. “I’m very happy and I loved the historical perspective he gave, and having one of our oldest alumna there made it a really great experience.”
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