JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Matt Blunt issued the following statement Thursday on the Board of Curators selection of Gary Forsee as the new president of the University of Missouri System:
"Education is my highest priority. I have appreciated cooperative and productive relationships with higher education officials and presidents across the state that have helped me secure an historic higher education package to benefit Missouri students including more than doubling scholarship funding, increased funding for higher education and $335 million for state of the art learning centers through my Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative.
"Gary Forsee shares my commitment to the University of Missouri and higher education in our state and as an alumni of the University of Missouri-Rolla's prestigious engineering program he knows the University of Missouri system.
"His leadership capabilities and deep roots in Missouri will bring valuable expertise and experience to the University of Missouri system and I believe he will serve our state and students well.
"I am looking forward to working with him on some of the important projects I have outlined in my budget for the University system including my plan to provide $100 million for needs-based scholarships, the University projects within my Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative including the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center and UMKC's Pharmacy and Nursing Building and completion of the projects at UMR, UMSL and UMC's agricultural research facilities, the $13 million I have announced for health care education and funding to support a joint engineering partnership between UMR and MSU."