Change, partnerships highlight General Assembly

January 21, 2014

Dr. Michael D. Shonrock addresses nearly 400 faculty, staff and students during the General Assembly to kick off the spring semester.

When things change, we need to change the way we think,” Dr. Michael D. Shonrock, president of Emporia State University, told a crowd of nearly 400 faculty, staff and students during the General Assembly to kick off the spring semester. Classes begin Wednesday.

Change is already happening, Shonrock said, drawing attention to five projects already being worked on. A campus master plan will change the physical look of the campus and give future leaders a road map to follow. A new strategic plan will do the same for the philosophical underpinnings of the university.

Now & Forever: The Campaign for Emporia State University has already passed the halfway mark of its $45 million goal, especially impressive, Shonrock said, for a campaign that started raising money in February 2013 with a plan of five to seven years until completion.

In another funding facet, Shonrock reported on the budget proposal from Gov. Sam Brownback. If approved by the Kansas Legislature, Emporia State would have nearly $600,000 restored to its general fund from cuts made in the current budget year, another $856,000 restored in fiscal year 2015 and an additional $1 million allocated in FY15 to create an Honors College.

Partnerships will also be key to Emporia State’s future, Shonrock said. A partnership with the Kansas Leadership Center will infuse the university’s curriculum and culture by focusing on leadership as an activity not a role of position.

Locally, Shonrock said he was excited about the growing vision of a Black and Gold District in downtown Emporia. Envisioned to encompass Commercial Street from Ninth to 12th Avenue, which abuts the south edge of campus, Shonrock said the emerging plans include input and participation from Emporia Main Street, the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce, Regional Development Association of East Central Kansas, Emporia City Commission and Lyon County Commission to make it a reality.

“The future ain’t what it used to be,” said Shonrock, quoting legendary baseball player and manager Yogi Berra.

“I’m excited about Emporia State University and this community,” Shonrock said. “I have a dream; we have a dream and together we can be successful.”

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