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Gov. Parson Signs HB 297, A Designation For Statewide Success In SEMO Departments

Office Of Missouri Governor / Flickr
Gov. Parson Signing HB 297 on Tuesday, July 13th.

  On Tuesday, July 13th Gov. Mike Parson signed House Bill 297 into law, a bill that officially designates Southeast Missouri State University as an institution of higher education with a statewide mission in the areas of computer science, cybersecurity, and visual and performing arts. 

The designation was awarded after the University consistently proved their strength throughout the departments since their application submission in 2019. 

Zora Mulligan, the Missouri Higher Education Commissioner, expressed the value of the legislative recognition saying “The role that SEMO plays in educating the workforce is really critical and this designation reflects that fact,” said Mulligan.

To be qualified to receive the designation, an institution must offer one or more programs of unusual strength, supported by the receipt of national, discipline-specific accreditations.

Some examples submitted to lawmakers by Southeast included the school’s creation of an undergraduate cybersecurity degree in 2011, as well as being the only institution with a separate campus dedicated to the arts.

Carlos Vargas, President of Southeast expressed his pride in the institution, and his gratitude for the governor's acknowledgement, saying “For nearly 150 years, Southeast has taken seriously its role to serve the citizens of southeast Missouri and the surrounding region, and it has a rich history of producing graduates that become successful business leaders, health care providers, entrepreneurs, educators, artists and performers, agriculture professionals, scientists, and citizens of tomorrow,” Vargas said. “This statewide mission designation is a recognition of the University’s academic success and programmatic quality, and is a testament to the talent and expertise of the University’s faculty and staff that are the foundation of our academic excellence.”

Southeast is the only University throughout Missouri with this designation. The legislation will take effect on Aug. 28, 2021.


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