MU welcomed new Chancellor Alexander Cartwright at a ceremony Wednesday. The event, which took place in the Reynolds Alumni Center, allowed students, faculty, staff and members of the community to meet Cartwright as well as his wife Melinda Sage Cartwright and their daughter Alyssa.
In his remarks, Cartwright articulated his vision for the university as an asset to citizens across Missouri. He cited the recent expansion of financial aid for Pell Grant-eligible students as one step toward fulfilling the university’s responsibility to its community.
“A flagship land-grant university research institution like this should be a difference-maker for the state,” he said. “We have the resources, the expertise and the work ethic: the ecosystem that is needed to make that vision a reality.”
Cartwright acknowledged recent issues plaguing MU such as budget challenges, layoffs and negative press coverage.
“I want everybody to realize they can say anything to me,” Cartwright said earlier that day to reporters. “I say to people I am not easily offended, and I want you to tell me what you honestly think. If you’re not honest with me, we can’t improve as an institution.”
However, he expressed confidence in the direction and future of the university, citing record retention rates, increasing research grants and loyal donors as positive current trends.
“I want you to leave this knowing that regardless of what you might be reading out there, there are many of us who recognize that we are a first-rate public research university, one of the top and the finest in the country,” he said.
Cartwright was introduced by UM System President Mun Choi, who commended Cartwright’s collaborative leadership style and ability to appreciate input from all sectors of the community.
“We were looking for a candidate that had so many different characteristics that we were seeking: someone who has humility, someone who has high integrity, someone who understands accountability, but on top of all of that, a leader. A leader who is going to work for the students, faculty and staff and the alums to improve this university,” Choi said.
Kathleen Bruegenhemke was among the those who attended the event. As a member of the business community interested in the future of MU, she is optimistic about the work of both Cartwright and Choi.
“I’m really excited about what [Cartwright] is going to do, and I’m excited about President Choi’s presence here and certainly the two of them working very closely together,” she said.
Gloria Crull, an MU alumna with several family members enrolled in the university, was in attendance as well.
“[Cartwright] seems to be a very grounded individual who understands what it takes for people to get through the whole system and get their education,” Crull said.
Edited by Olivia Garrett | email@example.com