Bravo for outside-the-box ideas

Bravo, Bruce!

Congratulations to President Speck on the occasion of his musical debut with the Southern Orchestra.

The President’s Gala Concert, to become an annual event, signifies a new era at Missouri Southern: a time of both heightened innovation and, more importantly, outside-our-box thinking.

Let’s find even more outside-our-box ways of addressing scholarship needs. I am inspired by President Speck’s concert appearance, something he apparently brought here from his experience at Austin Peay.

As a former board member of the Pensacola Symphony, I observed that it was not uncommon for that organization to solicit contributions through guest conductor appearances. Accordingly, in hopes of priming the pump of additional institutional philanthropy and as an exemplar for others to come forward, I will personally pledge $500 toward the scholarship fund if Southern will entertain the idea of a guest conductor appearance with the Southern Symphony.

We are certainly at a crossroad of need for innovations and outside-our-box thinking. Traditional marketplace competitors of MSSU have advanced and have been joined by new players such as Wichita Technical Institute. Add to that, a national recession that may drive new potential customers to consider MSSU, but is also certain to put a squeeze on the state budget that supplements our growth in meeting that challenge.

Factor into this matrix the announcement in the Carthage Press last weekend that the Missouri Southern International Piano Competition has come to an end after 20 years of enhancing Southern’s reputation both nationally and internationally. That bubble reputation may have burst, but more germane to this discussion are the tens of thousands of dollars raised in support of the MSIPC.

Let’s think outside the box and come up with means of not misprizing the goodwill of those who have so enthusiastically supported the MSIPC. We need to refocus such leadership and fundraising acumen toward supporting projects that will gird MSSU’s infrastructure. If association with excellence was a prime motivator in the attraction to the MSIPC, we will just have to provide excellent substitutes.

Jeffrey D. Skibbe

General Manager

88.7KXMS/Fine Arts Radio International®