Dr. Sidney A. McPhee: This year we celebrate the pride, tradition, and excellence of MTSU’s first century as a leading academic institution in middle Tennessee. Looking forward, service and leadership will continue to be key to our vision for the future as middle Tennessee’s premier public university. So too will nationalization and internationalization of the MTSU brand.
MTSU started as a small teacher-training school in 1911. It has grown tremendously in the last 100 years—particularly the last 20—and has become a key component of middle Tennessee’s education and economic engine. In January 2010, the Tennessee General Assembly passed the Complete College Tennessee Act of 2010, which calls for colleges and universities to focus on student retention, degree completion, improvement in the areas of transfer and articulation, and institutional mission distinctiveness. MTSU had already made those goals a strategic priority. The century ahead will
be marked by MTSU further expanding its role as the primary public higher education institution for the citizens of middle Tennessee.
MTSU has long been a place to obtain an excellent education. It has been the marketplace for the exchange of ideas. It has been a place where students obtain a better understanding of human rights, civic virtues, and ethical values and learn their duties as citizens of a democracy. In the 100 years ahead, MTSU will not only continue to perform those roles but will also assume a bigger role in national life and will forge a global focus.
To do this, we must continue to build interrelated programs among the University, international organizations, and businesses. We must continue to focus on collaborative research among industries, research institutions, and the University. And we must continue to improve our facilities so as to continue to attract world-class faculty and students to MTSU.
Revisiting our history makes us proud. But it also underscores our tremendous responsibility and dreams for the future. Spend a little time around our students, faculty, and alumni, and I have no doubt you’ll be as excited as we are about what the next 100 years will bring.
MTSU Magazine: The General Assembly adjourned this year without signing off on funding for MTSU’s desperately needed new science building. How do you feel that effort is going?
McPhee: In my 11 years at MTSU—many of which have been spent with MTSU’s new science building at the top of the state’s capital projects priorities list—I have never been more confident that state decision-makers are going to find a way soon to fund a new MTSU science building. Heading into next year, based on all the feedback I’ve been receiving, I feel very good about the prospects that via some form of state funding—be it bonds or some other source of revenue—we will be breaking ground sooner rather than later on a vital new science building at MTSU. Doing so once and for all will assist our entire regional economy in its push to improve science education and steer us ever closer to our goal of attracting more and more of the jobs of tomorrow to middle Tennessee.
MTSU Magazine: Thank you for your time, Mr. President. MTSU