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July 9, 2009
Northwest President John Jasinski and members of the Northwest Leadership Team met with local officials and civic and business leaders Wednesday, July 8, to discuss ways in which Maryville, Nodaway County and the University can work together to encourage mutual progress and meet shared challenges.
The Community and University Summit Luncheon was organized to formally introduce Jasinski to community leaders. About 30 people attended the event. Jasinski officially assumed his duties as Northwest's tenth president on July 1.
Among those present were state Rep. Mike Thomson, Maryville Mayor Chad Jackson, City Manager Matt LeCerf, Nodaway County North District Commissioner Bob Westfall, Maryville School District Superintendent Vicki Miller, Lisa Macali of Nodaway County Economic Development and Luke Reven, the new executive director of the Greater Maryville Chamber of Commerce.
Jasinski called a successful partnership between Northwest and the Maryville region "our life's blood moving forward" and said the University has a role to play in a variety of issues that extend beyond campus, including economic development, health care and K-12 education.
"I have heard many of you say, 'The University is such a gem." Jasinski said. "Or somebody will come to the city of Maryville and say, 'Wow, this place is unbelievable.' There are so many good things here."
Mayor Jackson, who spoke following the president's remarks, said the luncheon was intended as the first of a series of similar meetings intended to "bring the community and University together and look at issues for collaboration." He added that similar gatherings in the past have addressed such topics as downtown and neighborhood renewal, hiking and biking trails and street improvements.
"The question is what items do we want to move forward on? How we can work together as a community?" Jackson said.
The luncheon ended with an open exchange of questions and comments on a variety of issues, including a proposed tour of the University's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a combined academic facility and high-tech business incubator scheduled to open on the Northwest campus later this summer.
Other topics raised for future discussion included health care costs, economic development, improved pedestrian access in south Maryville, wind power, better preparing public school students for academic success in college and the possibility of internships for Northwest students at local businesses.
Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
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Northwest Missouri State University
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