Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: Grace Napolitano: 1936—: Politician to Richard (Wayne) Peck (1934-) Biography - Career » Lester C. Newman Biography - Raised With High Expectations, Remained In Academia, Left Alma Mater, Guided Mvsu Into The Twenty-first Century - Selected writings

Lester C. Newman - Guided Mvsu Into The Twenty-first Century

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In 1999 Newman launched a five-year, $25-million fundraising campaign—the largest in MVSU's history—with actor Morgan Freeman as chairman and national spokesman and blues legend B.B. King as honorary chair. In addition to facility improvements, the campaign's goal was to fund academic programs, faculty and departmental chairs, and student scholarships. Funds also were earmarked for helping local school districts improve their accreditation ratings and for university outreach to public school students. Newman told the Clarion-Ledger: "A good education should not be reserved only for those who can afford to pay for it or for those who live in wealthy school districts." He was quoted in the December 23, 1999, Black Issues in Higher Education: "The campaign signifies a new era in MVSU's history as the university establishes new relationships and forms partnerships that will ultimately improve the entire Delta region."

At a time of budget cuts and funding crises, Newman pursued new external grants and contracts for MVSU. Between 1998 and 2004, donations increased by 400 percent and federal funding increased by more than 100 percent. In addition, the average faculty salary increased by $10,000. Already one of the largest employers in the community, MVSU embarked on major landscaping and construction projects.

Newman initiated internal reviews of academic programs and an external review by outside consultants. An outside consultant was hired to review the school's athletic program, an important factor for the community, as well as for attracting new students. Newman told Karen Bryant of the Delta Business Journal in May of 2000 that he wanted MVSU "to be considered the premier regional institution in Mississippi and, ultimately, one of the top regional institutions in the nation."

Lester C. Newman - Introduced New Academic Programs [next] [back] Lester C. Newman - Left Alma Mater

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