May 5, 2009
Courter to retire as University's top finance officer
Northwest Vice President for Finance and Support Services Ray Courter has announced that he will retire effective July 1.
Courter joined the University's administrative team in 1972 as director of accounting and payroll. He subsequently served as internal auditor and controller before being promoted to his current post in 1996.
A member of the President's Cabinet, Courter is the University's chief budget officer and has also been responsible for the management, development and maintenance of the University's physical plant and service operations, functions that involve nearly 200 employees and touch on every aspect of the campus community, from law enforcement to dining and housing to new construction.
"It has been my sincere privilege to work at Northwest for the past 37 years," Courter said. "I deeply appreciate those colleagues who have been my mentors, my team associates and my friends during my tenure at the University."
Under Courter's direction, Northwest has planned and executed $225 million in facility upgrades since 1990, including major renovations of the J.W. Jones Student Union, Colden Hall, the Garrett-Strong Science Building and Bearcat Stadium. New construction projects include Forest Village Apartments and Tower Suites, the Fire Arts Building and the 500-bed Hudson-Perrin freshman residence complex.
Courter also played a very significant role in the development and construction of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which, following its completion later this year, will serve as both a high-technology business incubator and an academic teaching and research facility.
Other projects reflecting Courter's leadership include:
Northwest's widely recognized alternative energy program, in which wood chips and pelletized paper and animal waste are burned as fuel in place of natural gas. The resulting thermal energy is used to heat and cool campus buildings and has saved the University more than $13 million since 1982.
The Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing, a two-year residential program for gifted high-school-age students.
Efforts leading to the creation of the Mozingo Outdoor Education and Recreation Area (MOERA) east of Maryville and to the legislative designation of the Northwest campus as the Missouri State Arboretum.
Work with the strategic planning team that helped create and perpetuate Northwest's award-winning Culture of Quality, a management initiative based on the concept of continuous process improvement.
Development and funding of Northwest's American Dream Grant, which pays a large portion of tuition and other college costs for lower-income students during their first two years of study at Northwest.
"Northwest is an infinitely better, stronger and more forward-looking institution thanks to Ray's dedication, passion, counsel and professional expertise," said President Dean L. Hubbard, who will also retire this summer. "His sound fiscal guidance combined with a profound understanding of the University's mission has created a legacy that will continue to serve students, faculty and staff for decades to come."
Courter, who holds both a bachelor's degree and a master's of business administration degree from the University, said he will miss coming to work every day and interacting with co-workers and students at an institution where he has longstanding personal and professional ties.
"My mother and my aunt were summer school students at Northwest in the late 1920s and early 1930s," he said. "My wife, two sons and myself all have degrees from the University, so bleeding green is a family affair."
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Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
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