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EXCLUSIVE: One-on-One with UM System Board of Curators chair Jon Sundvold

Chairman of the University of Missouri System Board of Curators Jon Sundvold said he wants to build the four campus university's future with the strength of the school’s new leadership. (Mark Slavit/KRCG 13)

Former Mizzou basketball star and current UM System Board of Curators chair Jon Sundvold sat down for his first one-on-one interview since he was voted into his new position.

Sundvold said wants to build the University of Missouri System’s future with the strength of the school’s new leadership. Sundvold said the hiring of President Mun Choi allows university officials to be more aggressive with Missouri lawmakers and state funding.

“President Choi is maybe one of the best that we ever had at relationships throughout the state" he said. "Not only at the State Capitol, but throughout the state. That’s where it starts.”

Sundvold said it was too early to say how much money Gov. Mike Parson and the Missouri Legislature were willing to spend on higher education this year. Post-secondary education state funding took a hit under former Governor Eric Greitens’ administration.

“It’s too early to tell for budgets going forward," Sundvold said. "We may have a better feel in May when tax receipts come in and then we know what our enrollment is and the deposits, etc.”

Sundvold said he wanted to boost minority enrollment after the 2015 racial protests on the Mizzou campus.

“We’re up 36 percent on African-American freshmen enrollment. We’re up 28 percent on minority enrollment," he said. "The steps we’ve taken that started two years ago have been very positive and will continue to be positive throughout the state and different parts of the state.”

Sundvold and school administrators have worked on mounting a vigorous defense against NCAA sanctions. NCAA investigators said a former MU tutor broke the rules when she completed work for 12 student-athletes. As a result, NCAA officials banned the football, baseball, and softball programs from postseason play for their upcoming seasons. Sundvold said the penalties were unfair. Sundvold planned to appeal the NCAA sanctions against the MU Athletic Department to the highest level.

“If a university corrects problems that they’ve had and finds it out themselves, don’t penalize them," he said. "Actually, they should reward them and say 'well done.'”

Sundvold said he wants more people to realize it’s the University of Missouri, not a university in Missouri, with campuses in Columbia, St. Louis, Kansas City and Rolla.


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