New Truman President: 'This is not a time to focus on cuts'
KIRKSVILLE, Mo. —
Described as a strong leader who cares deeply about her students, one Heartland administrator will soon assume the role as head of a major local university.
"I don't know what better job there is than to be president of Truman State University."
Dr. Sue Thomas stepped into the role of interim president of Truman State University (TSU) on July 1, 2016.
However, on March 1, she will officially become the 17th president of the university.
Thomas says she feels nothing but pride to serve Truman in this capacity, and says she owes that to both staff and students.
"Our students are our secret weapon. They are so absolutely amazing. I know it sounds cliche, but I'm enormously humbled to be able to serve in this role."
The new president adds that while serving as interim, she was able to learn the ropes of what it takes to be president.
She says that it's both exhausting and exhilarating to be involved in every aspect of the university, both on and off campus.
"Whether it's academics or co-curricular, or working with donors, working with alumni, working with legislators, I get to see every component of this university and help to play a role in making it better."
TSU is just one of the public university's in Missouri hit hard by budget cuts from the state level.
In order to create a more balanced budget, Governor Eric Greitens announced a statewide 8 percent withholding in public funding to those schools.
"This is not a time to focus on cuts. This is a time to focus on who we are and how we reallocate our resources to make sure that we continue to be amazing at what we do."
In order to make up some funds, the school recently announced the issuance of a $50 surcharge on each full-time student enrolled this semester.
While that means an additional $250,000 for the university, another budget shortfall next school year could once again be an issue if Governor Greitens' proposed budget is approved.
Thomas says it will be a team effort across campus to figure out how to find funds to meet the withholding's and cuts.
She stresses this is not a time for students to be wary and says the university will find ways to help those enrolled continue to receive the best education possible.
"First and foremost, Truman is going to continue to offer the best education it possibly can. That's not going to be compromised."