Forsee's e-mail announces his resignation as UM president

Friday, January 7, 2011 | 11:42 a.m. CST; updated 11:56 a.m. CST, Friday, January 7, 2011
UM System President Gary Forsee answers questions from the audience during an open Town Hall meeting on Nov. 3 in Jesse Hall Auditorium. Forsee addressed both the possible changes in the retirement plan that could affect future employees and the university’s fiscal challenges.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Gary Forsee sent this e-mail Friday morning announcing his resignation.

January 7, 2011

Dear Colleagues: This morning in a special meeting of the University's Board of Curators, I announced I am stepping down as the President of the University of Missouri system, effective immediately.

As you know, my wife Sherry was diagnosed with cancer following an emergency appendectomy in late November. Since then, we have been overwhelmed by your thoughtful wishes in cards, e-mails and prayers. Sherry has had subsequent successful surgery, finding no further signs of cancer, and will soon begin a treatment regimen to ensure she remains cancer-free. I know that many of you have either experienced this terrible disease, or have similarly supported family and friends facing this challenge-and to you, Sherry and I also extend our warmest wishes for successful outcomes.

While our priority going forward will be our family and Sherry's full recovery, you can count on our continued full support for this great public research institution. The University President's role is a statewide, "24X7" commitment to support the teaching, research, service and economic development mission of our four campuses. This is a role both Sherry and I have taken on, and with passion. We have enjoyed the opportunity to serve our State and help in any way we could during what has certainly proven to be a challenging time.

After a long working career, LOTS of moves and working regularly from multiple locations, it is clearly time for us to get Sherry's next six months of treatment completed and to focus on our family and great friends. It truly has been an honor to serve in this position, and I've enjoyed working with you, as well as meeting so many of you. When I came to the University three years ago, I recall saying I had a lot to learn and was, in fact, going to need to "go back to school." I thought coming in that I knew a fair amount about the University. Of course, once on the inside and "going to school" on our mission, I was quickly impressed with the breadth and quality of the work of our great faculty and staff, the incredible talent of our students, and the support and passion of alumni and friends of the University.

I can assure you that I have accumulated an incredible number of "bragging rights"...and we will continue to put all of them to good use.

Our ability as a public land-grant research university to provide students an opportunity to get a quality education...for our faculty to have the chance to do groundbreaking research and to be catalysts for job creation and economic development...for us to improve the health of Missourians by teaching and employing so many of our state's health care professionals in our hospitals and clinics...for our colleagues to serve fellow Missourians by "extending" the University's capabilities to address the unique needs of communities across the state...and of course, the core of what we do, for our ability to teach and provide opportunities for something we must inspire everyone to invest in and fully support. We simply can't take our important mission for granted...and I assure you I will continue to be a strong and loud advocate for all that you do.

I want to personally thank all of you who have supported Sherry and me in expanding our perspectives and knowledge of this wonderful University. And I also would like to thank all those folks around the state we've met-new as well as former acquaintances with whom we've reconnected. We so appreciate the reception we received during our time in Columbia and will continue to look forward to seeing old friends and new ones along the way. Thank you for all that you do and for the many ways you make this a great university.


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Ellis Smith January 7, 2011 | 1:16 p.m.

Seems the logical course for him to take, given the circumstances. It wouldn't have been a good thing to leave the job not fully occupied. We should all wish him and his family well.

Forsee is the first president to have matriculated as an undergraduate student at the university's 140-year-old Rolla campus.

One possible point of concern is that this university since 2001 will now have experienced three presidents (Pacheco, Floyd, Forsee) plus one interim president. Not sure that's the presidential turnover we'd like to see.

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