Welcome back to the spring semester!

It’s good to be back to kickoff what I’m sure will be a wonderful semester! I’m just getting back to my office after enjoying a sunny yet brisk day. In addition to students being back on campus, there have been a lot of interesting events to enjoy. I had the chance to listen to a presentation given by Professor Linda Collins. In “A Change is Gonna Come:” Healing in a Time of Racial Unrest, Dr. Collins compared the race riots of 50 years ago with the recent unrest in Ferguson and beyond.  She also discussed how communities can heal from these divisive events. I hope you got the chance to listen – – it was thought-provoking.

We had a busy Service Week. Along with the traditions of welcoming each other back to campus, we got a lot of mileage out of our middle name: Community. On January 10, 150 people between the ages of 14 and 24 attended the Ferguson Commission’s meeting at Flo Valley . The youth summit marked a “critical beginning” for the commission in the listening process involving young people, said the Rev. Starsky Wilson, co-chairman. As you know, the Ferguson Commission was created by Gov. Jay Nixon to address “social and economic conditions” highlighted by protests. The budget for the 13-month endeavor is about $1.3 million.

We also partnered with several community organizations to sponsor North County Opportunities Expo: Trades, Training and Apprenticeships on Jan. 13, on campus.

The Expo included workshops and helpful information on how to find resources to prepare for employment in the building and skilled trades. Approximately 371 attendees had the opportunity to explore various training opportunities in union trades, highly technical skilled utility work, and advanced manufacturing. Resources were available on-site to help individuals address career roadblocks.

AROUND THE CAMPUS

  • We had a wonderful Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration. Dr. Art McCoy gave an insightful and thought provoking keynote address about Dr. King and the work we still have to do to fulfill his dream. More than 200 people were in attendance. I look forward to next year’s event.

And finally, Gov. Jay Nixon gave his State of the State address on Wednesday. Gov. Nixon says his 2016 budget will invest an additional $11 million in pre-school, an additional $150 million for local public schools and will provide start-up grants to expand Project Lead the Way to another 350 elementary schools. He is also proposing an additional $25 million for colleges and universities, based on strong performance standards. Please continue to watch this space for updates on funding.

Thanks for reading the blog and have a great weekend!

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