A letter to Missouri Governor Mike Parson

The Honorable Michael Parson
Governor of the State of Missouri
State Capitol
Jefferson City, MO 65102


Governor Parson,

Here at William Woods University, our mission is abundantly clear – to serve as a professions-based institution of higher learning dedicated to producing graduates who are the most in-demand by today’s employers. We take pride in being one of the first private universities in the state of Missouri to publicly express our strong support for the “Fast Track” scholarship program, as well as the other workforce initiatives, you outlined in your State of the State address last month.

Our focus on professions-oriented degrees has been a commitment for decades, and has been a key to our success as an institution. Just in the past year and a half, for example, we have demonstrated that commitment by seeking approval for a Nursing program and adding new degree programs in in-demand disciplines like Cybersecurity. We also became the first private institution in the state of Missouri to begin offering the Show-Me Guard Officer Leadership Development (GOLD) program, a degree program that prepares young men and women to become commissioned officers in the Missouri National Guard. Our professions-oriented degree programs not only benefit our graduates, but Missouri’s economy as well.

I applaud your focus on Missouri’s workforce, and agree that a strategy that aligns our Missouri businesses, higher education system, and government is the best approach to ensuring that we are producing students possessing the skills needed by today’s businesses in the 21st Century economy. William Woods is completely onboard with the Fast Track, Missouri One Start and Missouri Excels workforce initiatives, and we are ready to accept any tuition caps mandated by these programs.

During 2020, William Woods will be marking the 150th anniversary of our founding as a university. Throughout our long history, innovation and vision have been the hallmarks of our progress. We are heartened by your vision and leadership on this crucial issue for Missouri’s future – a skilled workforce – and look forward to the day you can sign this important legislation into law.


Dr. Jahnae Barnett
Dr. Jahnae H. Barnett
William Woods University