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Fourth and Final Presidential Candidate Visits MSU Campus

Sporting a blue bow-tie, the fourth finalist contending for the position of president of Missouri State University spoke at an open forum on Tuesday on the MSU Campus. KSMU’s Matt Evans was there and files this report.

The Plaster Student Union Theater was nearly full when Dr. James Cofer took center stage and delivered a short speech before addressing questions from the audience. Cofer is currently the president of the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Before taking that job, he worked with the University of Missouri system as the vice president for finance and administration for three and a half years. He said administration at Mizzou kept tabs on Missouri State.

“You know, when I was at Mizzou, we knew about Missouri State and one of the conversations today, I said we worried more about you than you probably worried about us because we knew what was going on down here.”

Cofer said his time at the University of Louisiana at Monroe was challenging, but rewarding. After he spent five years at the helm, students rated the university higher than ever before, and surpassed student satisfaction at the national level.

“When I went there in 2002, it was a broken campus. It had fiscal problems, but it also had academic problems, it had moral problems, image problems, athletic problems, budget problems. We solved those, and we solved those in a myriad of ways working together.”

Cofer also talked about his vision for Missouri State University.

“We all know this is a great institution. And my vision is that we are the premiere, student-focused, learner-centered institution in the country.”

However, he did say that the vision of Missouri State should be shared by the entire university.

“Where do we want to be? What do we want to be as an institution? And I’ve said many times, our vision is much more important than my vision.”

Now that all four of the finalists have made their way to Missouri State University, the Board of Governors will select and announce the tenth president of MSU later this month, or in early June.

For KSMU News, I’m Matt Evans.

ANCHOR TAG: Cofer will continue the interview process Wednesday and will hold an open forum at the Missouri State campus in West Plains.