A hearty thank you to WestridgeCreative for sponsoring the public forum that was held June 25. This long overdue and lively discussion took place in the City Council chambers Tuesday evening and was well attended by community members. Seven panelists addressed the topic: “Local Governance & the Missoula College,” the first in a series of three forums.

Jim Parker of WestridgeCreative moderated as panel members Mehrdad Kia (UM Faculty), Peggy Kuhr (UM President’s Office), Jack Lyon (Advocates for Missoula’s Future), Asa Hoffman (Associated Students of the University of Montana), Alex Taft (Missoula City Council), Michele Landquist, (Missoula County Commissioner), and Joe Knapp (Missoula County Public School Board) each responded to the posed question:

“In your view, what is the educational mission of the Missoula College and how does it align with the current role of the Missoula College? As we look ahead, what will students and the local community need from, and want for the Missoula College?”

Parker then conducted a question and answer period from the audience to the panelists. With thirty minutes originally scheduled for the Q & A, extra time was allowed by Parker due to the large number of folks stepping forward to the microphone. Each panel member then offered a brief closing statement.

Thank you, MCAT for filming this exciting event; thank you, Jim Parker for organizing it; and thank you, panelists and audience members for participating.

The next forum, will take place Tuesday, July 23, 7 p.m., in City Council chambers with the theme: “Jobs & the Local Economy – What makes a campus? How are they related?” Panelists will be addressing the economic and community impacts of where the Missoula College is located.

I hope the Missoula community will join this exciting discourse as different panelists share their own and diverse viewpoints. The third panel of this series is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 29.

Renee Mitchell, Missoula

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