Van Galen embraces early challenges as he begins tenure as Missouri Southern president

Dean Van Galen is the 6th president in Missouri Southern history.

Dean Van Galen spent part of his first day as Missouri Southern’s president meeting with local and regional business leaders.

“I think it’s really important to have the university connected with businesses in the community,” Van Galen says, “It’s important to learn more about their perspective on the university, and what we can do to ensure we’re developing the talent and making those connections with regional businesses.”

While he is excited for the new beginning, Van Galen faces plenty of early challenges, including the university’ budget.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson announced budget restrictions for the state on Tuesday, including a more than 40-million dollar cut to higher education.

Check out a full list of Missouri budget restrictions HERE

“My team and I are just getting our head around that,” Van Galen adds, “I also want to connect more broadly with the campus to get their thoughts and to make sure they understand the challenges we’re facing, and work through that together.”

There’s also the question of how the university plans to get students back to campus safely in the fall. 

“That is really job number one,” Van Galen says, “we need to do that planning to make sure we’re where we need to be in the fall.”

Van Galen is embracing those challenges he faces as president, and beginning his tenure with his long term vision in mind.

“We’re all dealing with the challenges of the pandemic, but I think there’s opportunity embedded in that,” he finishes, “I think this university has a tremendously bright future. So as we work through the short-term challenges, I think that long term vision is going to be really important.”