León strives to remain ‘one step ahead’ of times

Dr. Julio León

Dr. Julio León

Rebecca Watts

As Dr. Julio León approaches a quarter century as University president, the future for Missouri Southern could be a bright one.

Looking back on the past 25 years, León said drastic changes make it difficult to predict the future, but he wishes the best for higher education.

“I hope that Missouri Southern will continue to be a strong institution 25 years from now,” he said. “I definitely hope that Missouri Southern will always continue to do several things; always keep the interests and the needs of the students first and try to anticipate and be capable of adapting quickly to circumstances. I also hope that the political climate will continue to favor higher education.”

León said growth in enrollment was one measurement of a university’s success and the immediate area has high prospects for education. The potential for student increases in the Midwest is strong, and León anticipates more participation in international students from China and the Far East.

The online and distance learning programs are areas where development will be apparent.

“Obviously, technology is going to be an important part of whatever happens in the future,” he said. “I believe the future of Southern will be, to a great extent, tied in with the development in (the international mission and distance learning), and how far we will go in that direction will depend on the extent to which our faculty and our staff can have the flexibility to adapt rather quickly to changes in our time.”

Even though times have changed, along with aspects of the University, León said he strives for his original goals and would like to pursue them with Missouri Southern.

“The plans are to be here as long as they want me to be here,” he said. “I would hope that people will see this president always stayed one step ahead of the times.”