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UM Board votes to name health facility after Blunt

The University of Missouri (UM) System Board of Curators voted unanimously to name its new NextGen Precision Health Building after U.S. Senator Roy Blunt Thursday.

The board approved a motion from its Finance Committee to christen the new facility located at the Columbia campus after Blunt during its September board meeting, noting his efforts to fund education and health research on Capitol Hill. Blunt appeared virtually, lauding the dedication of the board and UM President Dr. Mun Choi.

“Let me tell you how pleased I am to be associated with what can and will happen at this building,” Blunt said. “This future-focused, state-of-the-art facility has all the promise that I thought it had the first time President Choi mentioned it to me. I think it has the ability to really put the University of Missouri at the forefront of where medicine is going. … I’m delighted to be associated with the building. I think great things are going to happen there.”

Blunt has been instrumental in increasing funding for campus-aid programs by more than 20 percent and secured $25 million for UM to help address a doctor shortage, according to the university. He also reinstated Year-Round Pell in 2017, allowing students to receive additional assistance throughout the year. 

“For three decades, Sen. Roy Blunt has championed the mission of public education in Missouri,” Choi said in an earlier statement. “No one has contributed more to the dramatic increase in funding for biomedical research and Pell grants. His efforts to ensure access to high-quality education and health care have surely transformed lives in Missouri and beyond.”

The Roy Blunt NextGen Precision Health Building, which cost more than $220 million, is set to open on Oct. 19. It will house electron microscopes and other scientific equipment used for cancer research on the molecular level and bring together clinicians from the system’s four research universities. The center was funded in part through a partnership with Thermo Fisher Scientific and a grant from the Midwest Biochemical Accelerator Consortium. 

Blunt is not seeking re-election to the seat he’s held for more than a decade in 2022. Several contenders have thrown their hats into the ring to compete for the spot.