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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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President Outlines 'Big Ideas' at Convocation

President Richard Davenport announces five goals for coming year.

Brian Ojanpa, Mankato Free Press, 8-20-2012

MANKATO — Minnesota State University President Richard Davenport bookended his annual “state of the state” address Monday by alluding to the school’s latest “big ideas” marketing mantra.

“Our brand is real well-recognized throughout the state...our university brand is really flying high in Minnesota,” Davenport told faculty, staff and others at the outset of the university’s 2012 convocation in Bresnan Arena.

He concluded his address by answering his own question — Why is MSU such a popular institution in Minnesota? — with another big-ideas reference.

“And the secret is to execute those big ideas today, and not tomorrow.”

In between, Davenport reviewed the university’s projects and accomplishments of the past year and then went into the five-goal challenge for the 2012-2013 school year:

* Completion of the university’s comprehensive fundraising campaign.

Davenport said an additional $6 million was raised last year toward the campaign’s $75 million goal, which remains $13 million short of fruition.

* Enrollment management.

“This may be the single most important goal,” Davenport said of the school’s effort to keep revenue-producing enrollment numbers up.

Davenport said enrollments are down at most universities this fall, though MSU’s is faring better than most, with about 150 fewer students enrolled.

The school has about 16,000 students, it has seen an overall growth in enrollments since 2007, and the goal is to have 17,000 students by 2017, he said.

In keeping with enrollment management, he said, is the ongoing university mission of making sure students graduate and find jobs.

* Improve student academic performance on state and national levels.

* Design an academic and financial infrastructure for campus extended-learning programs.

* Design a futuristic campus master plan to address the needs of those anticipated 17,000 students five years hence.

The entire version of this story can be read in a print copy of the Mankato Free Press. Call the Mankato Free Press at 625-4451 or (800) 657-4662 to find out how to purchase a print copy. The Free Press also prints select stories on-line at

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