Continuing the Legacy/by Austin LaBrot
Dr. Blake Thompson has some big plans up his sleeve for the Blue and Gold family. Many students see, hear, and imagine these plans daily – yes, this is referencing the Chick-fil-A taking over The Commons in August 2020.
But there is more to the university’s future than chicken. In the last few weeks, Laura Jackson became the newest member to MC’s administrative team as chief financial officer. Jackson takes over for Donna Lewis who retired after 13 years of splendid service.
Country superstar and cultural icon Reba McEntire will grace the very ground MC is built upon on April 21 for the annual Scholarship Dinner hosted by the university in Anderson Hall. Announced recently, the scholarship dinner has garnered tons of buzz – especially from this Collegian reporter.
Another outlook for the coming year is Ratliff. Closed to students for the 2019-2020 school year – except as a haunted house – Ratliff has been undergoing some infrastructural changes. President Blake Thompson appreciates all the work by the wonderful Physical Plant staff. “We don’t know what enrollment will look like [for Fall 2020],” Thompson said. The fate of Ratliff will be decided by, or during, the summer.
Summer does not seem too far ahead, but one obstacle must be conquered before summer break: graduation. The MC family will see new and exciting changes to spring graduation. The Collegian will report on graduation updates in March.
Looking deep ahead into the future, and well past MC’s 200th anniversary in 2026, Thompson has great plans to improve infrastructure, teaching, fundraising, and research. “We started thinking about a strategic plan,” he said. “It’s a continual work.”
Lastly, new faculty and staff members are looking to be hired. More details to come, but the Physician Assistant program and Engineering program are expanding.
MC is continuing its nationwide search for a new provost. “The search committee has been outstanding,” Thompson said. “They are a diligent and thoughtful group who will deserve tons of credit.” MC’s new provost should be named later this year.