University of Missouri

We visited with Tim Wolfe, the President of the University of Missouri System, about the system's presence in northeast Missouri.

The University of Missouri System casts a pretty good footprint in this part of the state, doesn't it?

We have a huge presence in rural Missouri, specifically in Marion County and Hannibal. We have over 1,200 of Marion County residents who have received medical or dental care from the University of Missouri Healthcare Services in 2014. As you know, we also serve many, many Marion County citizens through our MU Extension Office. We had 26,000 contacts in 2014. And also, we continue to serve a lot of students from Marion County with 159 current residents attending one of the four University of Missouri System campuses in Columbia, St. Louis, Kansas City and Rolla. So, yes, we are quite a presence in Marion County and the Hannibal area.

And any discussion about Mizzou's influence in northeast Missouri has to include your many alumni in the area.

We’re very proud of our alumni. One in particular we have to give thanks to is Sen. Brian Munzlinger, chair of the ag committee who’s been involved in much of the agriculture and extension legislation that we’ve had. He’s been a great representative for Marion County and a great friend of the University of Missouri System. We also have Rep. Shumake and Rep. Hansen that have also been very helpful in our cause and trying to make sure our services get out to all six million Missourians and so we do have quite a few alumni in the Hannibal area and we’re very proud that they continue to be passionate about our four campuses.

Serving the agricultural community is important to the University System, isn't it?

It is our number one industry clearly in the state of Missouri and because it is the number one industry we never forget that the investment we need to make to help our farmers and ranchers are critical to the success of all Missourians. And we do that in a variety of ways. We have 19 agricultural experiment stations that cover more than 14,000 acres throughout rural Missouri. And what’s great about our experimental stations is that we can take what happens in our laboratories that occur on our four campuses and try it out on our 14,000 acres, as well as collaborate with farmers and ranchers out there to make sure that their needs are heard. And we can work on some of the challenges or opportunities they have on their farm or their ranch. The closest one to you is the Greenley Memorial Research Station located in nearby Knox County, just to give you an indication of one of the ones I’m sure many of them have taken advantage of over the years.

So the state of the University of Missouri System goes well?

It is very well. We’ve got all time highs in terms of students on our campuses, we’re up to 77,000 students. We also have all time highs in terms of the quality of our students, the quality being measured by their class ranking, their ACT score, and we also have the most diverse student body we’ve ever had, representing underserved minorities as well as people from different parts of the geography as well as different economic classifications or backgrounds. So we’re very proud of our classes and we continue to need, as the state’s Land Grant institution, we need to continue to look like the demographic we’re serving. And I just want to remind you that we still have way over 75% of our students are Missouri residents, so we continue to serve Missourians on an exponentially higher basis than those that are outside the state of Missouri.