External Affairs, Marketing and Advancement Committee holds public meeting

The committee discussed changes to the TPMC project, endowment and UM System annual giving increases.

The UM System Board of Curators External Affairs, Marketing and Advancement Committee held a public meeting Wednesday to provide updates regarding the Translational Precision Medicine Complex, UM System endowments and annual giving numbers.

The TPMC is expected to bring together industry partners, multiple schools and colleges on campus and the federal government to pursue a collaborative approach to disease treatment and prevention, according to a May 2018 news release by the MU News Bureau.

Jamie Farmer, chair of the External Affairs, Marketing and Advancement Committee, discussed the importance of the community to the project. One of the main goals is to change the name to make it easy for people to understand

“Clarity is very important, so is directness,” UM System President Mun Choi said. “Part of what we are trying to avoid with TPMC was that it was very hard to memorize, it wasn’t very clear. People didn’t know what translational meant. What you’re going to get is a very direct and clear name.”

There hasn’t been a decision on the name yet, but Farmer said they are very close to making a decision. Farmer also mentioned that everyone in the community has a place and motivation in this project.

“It’s important that we focus on those different motivations or interests because this effort doesn’t really work unless everybody works on it together and finds their place in it,” Farmer said. “A key part of good communication is making sure that once you figure out what your message is and who you’re talking to, you have to tell that message in a way that makes it very clear why it matters to them at a human level. We are looking for all those motivations because all of those are important to this project.”

For example, donors may be motivated because they care about people who have cancer and faculty may care about the university and want to see it extend its research, she said.

Farmer said that the goal of the TPMC is to treat illnesses and change lives. She also discussed how the message is distributed. One of the methods she mentioned was communicating with MU’s higher education peers, which are other universities.

When George Smith received the Nobel Prize, they communicated TPMC’s goals with other universities.

“We put together a small booklet that we sent to fellow institutions,” Farmer said. “It told them about George Smith but also explained how it’s connected to the ambitions of the TPMC.”

After discussing the TPMC project, Choi gave an update on the endowment and spoke about key gifts across the UM System.

Choi said that the current endowment as of Feb. 28 stands at approximately $1.46 billion.

Endowment assets increased at MU, S&T and UMSL, but there was a $2 million reduction in assets at UMKC. Choi did not explain this reduction.

Choi also discussed the increase in annual giving in the UM System.

From July 1, 2018, to Feb. 28, 2019, the UM System campuses raised $192 million. Over the years, there has been a 19% increase at MU, a 27% increase at UMKC, a 2% increase at S&T and a 28% increase at UMSL.

Major gifts to MU include $20 million to the Kansas City Scholars Opportunity Scholarship Program, $7.7 million in support of the Loan Forgiveness program for the MU School of Medicine and $4.5 million to the Law Scholarship Fund at the MU School of Law.

Edited by Emily Wolf | ewolf@themaneater.com

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