President Randy Dunn visited the Missouri State University campus Monday to tour facilities and meet university students, faculty and staff.
Late last month, Dunn was announced as one of two candidates for the university’s vacant presidency.
At a public forum Monday afternoon, Dunn addressed the similarities between Murray State and Missouri State, his desire for the position and his qualifications.
“There are so many parallels between Murray State and Missouri State University … in a host of ways the institutions mirror each other, the only difference is magnitude, the size of the institution,” he said. “In many ways because the functional elements are so similar the work wouldn’t be that much different here than at Murray State.”
He said it was obvious the support base at Missouri State University is larger than Murray State’s and therefore, the breadth of the university’s abilities is larger. The operation itself though, is not drastically different.
“It’s a tremendously important time at this university,” he said. “I know whichever way the board may choose it will benefit the university greatly.”
Dunn said he began looking at the presidential position at Missouri State because of the benefits it would provide his career path.
“This university would be my capstone presidency,” he said. “If you look at the work I’ve done, this is exactly the kind of place my background would be beneficial – a public educational.”
He said Missouri State is primed to become one of the top public mid-major universities in the country.
“My career arc would allow me to be efficient here, to move up the ladder,” he said. “All of these things have driven me to this point today. I’m not papering the nation with resumes, this was a very select regional choice.”
Dunn said some had asked him if he would be able to handle the transition to a larger university setting like Missouri State. He said he knew he could because he has a large base of experience in large complex organizations, like his time as state superintendent of education on the Illinois State Board of Education.
Dunn said his personal motives for the presidency were unique.
“I would share with you, while I look like a traditional academic, you would see someone very creative, entrepreneurial in dealing with problems and challenges (and) not unwilling to take a bold step where it is needed,” he said. “We would want to move forward as a group, but we would need to be nimble, and I have the ability to do that. Without leaving that traditional value set the university has.”
He said it was the teaching and learning, the discovery and dissemination of knowledge is what excited him most about Missouri State.
The challenge he wants to fix most, he said, is turning the university from a Springfield-centric institution into a statewide and beyond institution.
Clifton (Clif) Smart III, interim president and former general counsel of Missouri State, is also a semifinalist in the Board of Governor’s nationwide search for the university’s 11th president. He gave his presentation Wednesday. The board is expected to make its decision by Nov. 1
Story by Chris Wilcox, News Editor.