EDITORIAL MUG: John Jasinski

Northwest Missouri State University’s high performance since I became the institution’s president in 2009 has come via your contributions – and those of our partners. My 2009 inaugural remarks addressed the importance of public-private partnerships, and I did not imagine how critical this would become by the 2020s. 

With regard to community, education and business partnerships, it starts with being good stewards and partners within our own community. As such, we worked closely with the city of Maryville to transform Fourth Street into an inviting link from downtown to our campus entrance – award-winning in nature – and we have provided support in grant proposals, such as the $10.4 million ask for the Main Street project.

At Mozingo Lake Recreation Park, Jacquie Lamer’s advertising strategies course was instrumental in rebranding the recreation area, including the design of the logo we know well today, and we championed the development of the Watson 9 youth golf course.

Additionally, we are quite proud of our work with the city, county and so many other groups to develop a transient guest tax that helps fund the Carl and Cheryl Hughes Fieldhouse and provides support for tourism and economic development in our region, creating the single largest public-private partnership in Northwest’s history as well as one of the largest public-private partnerships ever in the region.

Further, Mosaic Life Care is a robust partner and collaborator with Northwest on academic and co-curricular programming, behavioral health services, grants and sponsorships in addition to providing support through two athletic trainers and a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. Other partnerships in Maryville include Kawasaki Motors on an innovative student employment program and with the Maryville R-II School District’s Northwest Technical School to build a new farm manager house at the R.T. Wright Farm.

Having such strong partnerships with our city, county and healthcare organizations also was a key factor in our ability to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Hughes Fieldhouse was a valuable resource as we hosted mass vaccination clinics. 

In terms of academic programming and interdisciplinary partnerships, Knacktive – a student-run, full-service marketing agency that brings together students and faculty from varied disciplines – is one shining example that has assisted the city of Maryville, in addition to Farmer’s Mutual Insurance of Nodaway County and Tri State Ford Lincoln, among various other businesses and non-profit organizations. Another similar example is Missouri Hope each fall, during which our emergency and disaster management program partners with dozens of public safety and health care agencies to prepare students through challenging, profession-based disaster simulations.

Advancing Northwest and our mission is why we focus so heavily on partnerships and collaborations. That goes, too, for our Northwest Foundation and the Northwest Alumni Association as they foster relationships and engagement on a personal level with alumni and friends and organizational levels with the likes of the Sunderland Foundation, Suzanne and Walter Scott Foundation and so many others. We have collaborated with, for example, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Hawthorn Foundation and Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation as well as the Missouri Council on Public Higher Education and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities – to name a few. 

Our commitment to service comes through our faculty, staff, students and community members having held up Northwest through legislative testimony and visits, accrediting team visits, chambers of commerce meetings and participation, city council and county commission meetings, service organizations, numerous community events, media interactions and our social media posts. 

In sum, Northwest is all about internal and external engagement, building relationships and being in service to partners as we move our institution and region forward.

Dr. John Jasinski is the 10th president of Northwest Missouri State University. For news and events at Northwest, visit www.nwmissouri.edu.