View imageThe plan called for increasing fundraising, research and student recruitment efforts to help attain the goal. At the same time, Carney wanted to reduce the university’s deficit and flatten the administration to break down “silos” among the academic departments – moves that were also necessary to ensure the campus operates at peak efficiency.
Toomey Hall phases include demolition, construction and renovation
The old Mechanical Engineering Annex, built in 1902, is history. The demolition, which took several months, started last winter. Now, concrete has been poured on the vacant site and the steel beams of a brand new structure have risen.
In the fall of 2007, phase one of the creation of Toomey Hall will be nearing completion. The new structure, just north of the main Mechanical Engineering Building, will be a modern facility housing laboratories and space for student research. Most of the classrooms and office spaces will remain in the Mechanical Engineering Building, which is scheduled for an extensive renovation during the final phase of the project.
UMR is experiencing dramatic enrollment growth at a time when student interest in science, computing and engineering has fallen to an all-time low.
The official fall 2006 enrollment numbers show an increase for the sixth consecutive year. A total of 5,858 students are currently enrolled for the fall semester. That figure represents a 4.6 percent increase over last fall’s enrollment and a 27 percent growth over the 4,625 students attending in the fall 2000 semester.
One of the goals UMR Chancellor John F. Carney III set when he arrived last fall called for increasing research to help propel UMR into the ranks of the top technological universities in the nation. So far, the campus is right on track.
Public universities like UMR can no longer rely on as much state support as they have in the past. Fortunately, UMR raised more private money during the last fiscal year than in any other year of the university’s history.
The total amount of private funds raised in fiscal year 2006 exceeded $21 million, topping the $19.4 million raised in fiscal year 2005. These private donations will go a long way toward helping UMR maintain and grow its reputation as the state’s premier technological research institution.
If there were ever any doubts about UMR’s standing as a top technological research university, two major rankings during the past year should have put those doubts to rest.
First, UMR was named one of the nation’s 25 “most connected” campuses in a survey conducted by Forbes and The Princeton Review. That report, posted on the Forbes.com website last January, identified UMR among the universities “closest to the cutting edge” of technological innovation.
Last June, UMR made CIO magazine’s 2006 “CIO 100” list for its unified web presence. The annual list highlights businesses, universities and other organizations the magazine sees as the most tech-innovative.
All of this is happening in one of the nation’s best small towns, according to a recent report from BizJournals.com. Rolla is 13th on the BizJournal list of “America’s Dream Towns,” and second in the Midwest region.
For 42 years, this campus has been known as the University of Missouri-Rolla, or UMR. But does that name really reflect the university’s true identity?
That’s one of the questions UMR alumni, students, faculty and staff are pondering as the university community considers the possibility of changing the campus’s name.
During his “State of the University” address on Oct. 9, Chancellor John F. Carney III called upon students, faculty and staff to enter into a discussion about the university’s name. He’s also seeking feedback from alumni.
Whether he says it in Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, French or Arabic, Perrin Roller, GeoE’80, is ready to tell anyone who will listen why he loves UMR.
“Going to a technically oriented school like UMR is so different than going to a comprehensive university because it is so specialized,” Roller explains. “You’re immersed with people you’re going to work with the rest of your career, you make a lot of life-long friends.”