President Barack Obama's Visit to UCM - July 24, 2013
In what will be a history-making event for the University of Central Missouri, President Barack Obama will speak on campus during a visit to Warrensburg, July 24. The White House today officially announced UCM as the host site for the president’s speech on the economy.
Although it is the first time a sitting president has spoken at UCM, the Democrat from Illinois is the second world leader to speak at UCM since May 2011, when the university hosted the nation’s 42nd president, Bill Clinton. Clinton spoke at the annual commencement ceremony for the School of Graduate and Extended Studies and received an honorary doctorate.
The campus is continuing to make preparations for President Obama’s arrival, according to UCM President Charles Ambrose.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for the university. It comes at a time when we are making progress in areas that impact student success and will address important issues that have an impact on our economy. We believe that is why the president is coming here.”
Ambrose cited The Missouri Innovation Campus as an example of an initiative that would be of interest to President Obama. It is a collaboration between UCM, the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Metropolitan Community College and numerous business partners. The MIC, which Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has called “a model for the nation,” makes it possible for high school students attending the Summit Technology Academy to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in only two years after receiving their high school diplomas. While graduating faster than most students, this rigorous program gives them valuable on-the-job experience through internships in high-tech industries, they gain sought-after skills for high-paying careers, and graduate with no debt.
“Through The MIC, we are reshaping the way students experience education,” Ambrose said. “We’re making college more affordable by connecting students with businesses that share responsibility for their development and who will become their future employers who will reap the benefits of hiring these job-ready employees.”
Ambrose said a number of students from The MIC are expected to attend President Obama’s speech.
“We’re proud of these students,” he noted. “They are willing to accept the challenges of this rigorous, new program, but we know their hard work will pay off when they finish their education debt free and ready to go to work in high-demand jobs in technology.”
He noted UCM’s "Learning to a Greater Degree" contract for student completion is another way the institution is addressing issues that have an economic impact. This initiative is focused on getting students to graduate in four years, which will help them enter the workforce faster, and help reduce the cost of a higher education. The university has also launched programs that will help men and women leaving the military to reduce the cost of their education, and to make the transition into new careers.
The university is also educating the largest number of students and graduating the most students in its history, maintaining 90 percent or higher job placement rate in students' chosen fields for 19 consecutive years, all while keeping tuition increases below the consumer price index at 1.8 percent annually for the last five years.
“The UCM community is a great choice for a speech about the economy. We look forward to hosting President Barack Obama. We also appreciate the exceptional spirit of collaboration between the president’s staff and our entire UCM team who are pulling out all stops to make this a special event, and an important part of our university’s history,” Ambrose said.