May marked the end of an academic year unlike any in our university’s history.

I am proud of how we came together in response to the pandemic to ensure Missouri Southern continues to fulfill its mission. The adaptability and innovation of our students, faculty, and staff as we moved the entire teaching and administrative functions of the university to an online/remote environment was momentous. On behalf of the Board of Governors and President’s Council, I want to thank everyone involved for the part they played in keeping the institution moving forward this spring.

Southwest Missouri and Missouri Southern know more about resilience in the face of natural disasters than most regions and universities. Even with this background, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to challenge us. As efforts to manage the public health crisis continue, the economic challenges caused by COVID-19 are currently rippling across the state.

Case in point: Missouri Governor Mike Parson has announced cuts to higher-education appropriations totaling $3.041 million for Missouri Southern for the current fiscal year ending June 30, 2020.

The cuts announced by Gov. Parson highlight the need for everyone on campus to focus intently on student recruitment and enrollment. Getting and keeping as many new and continuing students as possible will go a long way toward mitigating these financial challenges in the coming months.

While there is some hope for a federal stimulus package to offset a portion of the losses in state revenue, it should be understood those dollars are not guaranteed and often come with stringent restrictions on how they can be spent.

Like all other universities in Missouri and nationwide, the pandemic has had economic impacts requiring decisive action. Missouri Southern will continue to stand together to face the financial implications that lie ahead and make sacrifices to sustain our university.

The President’s Council and I know these steps will not be easy, but Lions are resilient, and we will get through this challenge together and emerge even stronger.