Randy Halsey makes suggestions as he leaves Lincoln curators

Former Lincoln University Curator Herbert Hardwick, a Kansas City lawyer, is returning to the board this fall after Gov. Jay Nixon appointed him late last month. And that means Randy Halsey of Jefferson City now is a former curator, after serving only one year. Nixon appointed Halsey in August 2009 to complete the term of Col. Gurnie Gunter, who died in February 2009. But that term ended last January. And Hardwick was named as the successor, for a term ending Jan. 1, 2016. Because lawmakers aren’t in session now, Hardwick begins serving immediately, but he must be confirmed after the state Senate returns in January. He previously served on the LU curators board from 1993-97. In a statement, LU President Carolyn Mahoney said: “As a former curator, Herb Hardwick will bring a keen knowledge of our University and invaluable experience from the private sector to the Board, and we look forward to working closely with him in the years to come.” Halsey, 78, said last week he’s disappointed he won’t serve more time as a curator for the school he graduated from and later taught at. But he released a memo listing concerns about the school’s future direction, especially with the state’s financial situation and with Nixon’s recent challenge to Missouri Higher Education leaders to achieve a 60 percent graduation rate by 2020.

First on his list is: “There is a great need for reorganization of the University in order for it to be more manageable and have more accountability.”

In an interview, Halsey said reorganization “is a very clear must,” to avoid micromanaging by President Carolyn Mahoney and other administrators “so that we can get qualified, experienced people in positions that are built around the life of Lincoln University.”

In her statement, Mahoney said: “In recent years, curators, the president and university employees, alumni and stakeholders, have worked closely to transform Lincoln University and provide an outstanding education for our students.

“Because of those efforts, Lincoln University is well positioned for continued growth.”

Noting in his memo that both LU and the University of Missouri-Columbia have been designated as federal landgrant universities, Halsey said both schools “must form more partnerships.”

And, he said, Lincoln “must develop and implement a strategic plan for enrollment ... for the next five years.”

In the interview, Halsey said the historically black university “has to rethink its mission, in terms of what role it can play. Not everything can be for everybody.”

He said Lincoln should concentrate on recruiting Mid-Missouri high school students “as the best opportunity (to) get massive (numbers of) students who will stay longterm — but you have to offer courses that will keep them long term.”

Halsey said LU must evaluate its athletic department “to see if all of the sports are treated equitably financially,” especially since the school is shifting into the MIAA.

As he’s been arguing since last spring, Halsey again said Lincoln needs an internal auditor “to advise the administration and the Board of Curators on financial matters.”

As Halsey leaves the board, Mahoney said: “We appreciate Randy’s service while filling and completing an unexpired term on the Board of Curators.”

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