Maize researchers win career achievement awards

Mar 28, 2023

A photo collage of Kathleen Newton and David Braun

Kathleen Newton and David Braun

Two faculty members were recently honored for their groundbreaking careers researching maize (corn), one of Missouri’s leading crops.

Kathleen Newton, professor emerita of biological sciences, received the R. Emerson Lifetime Maize Genetics Award. David Braun, professor of biological sciences and plant sciences, received the L. Stadler Mid-Career Maize Genetics Award. Both were recognized by the Maize Genetics Cooperation.

Prof. Emerita Newton is the third member of MU’s world-renowned Interdisciplinary Plant Group to receive the lifetime achievement award. Mizzou is the only university with multiple recipients.

Prof. Braun’s award is named after Lewis J. Stadler, who held a joint appointment at MU and the USDA for more than 30 years. Stadler co-discovered that X-rays cause mutations, a tool now commonly used in plant research. Prof. Braun continues that tradition of excellence as director of the Interdisciplinary Plant Group and the Missouri Maize Center.

We are leaders in ag research and stewards of a legacy that continues to deliver for all Missourians.

— Mun

Curator Wenneker honored with Lieutenant Governor’s Women of Achievement Award

Mar 22, 2023

A photo of Curator Robin Wenneker

Curator Robin Wenneker

University of Missouri Board of Curators Vice Chair Robin Wenneker was recently named as a recipient of the 2023 Lieutenant Governor’s Women of Achievement Award. The award recognizes the accomplishments of 10 Missouri women in conjunction with Women’s History Month.

Curator Wenneker was appointed to the Board of Curators in 2020 representing District 4, including Columbia. She’s a Mizzou alum and incredible supporter of our research, learning and outreach mission.

The recipients were announced by Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe and will be honored during a ceremony on March 23 at the Missouri Capitol. Congratulations to Curator Wenneker!

— Mun

Preparing communities at the Earthquake Summit

Mar 22, 2023

A photo of Brian Houston presenting at the Earthquake Summit.

Brian Houston

Running from southern Illinois, across the Missouri Bootheel and into northern Arkansas ­– the area surrounding the New Madrid Fault is one of the most active seismic zones in the country.

Last week, I joined several Missouri elected officials and representatives from state and federal agencies for the annual Earthquake Summit. Hosted at our Fisher Delta Research, Extension, and Education Center in Portageville, I shared the work of researchers systemwide to understand and prepare for earthquakes in Missouri and across the region.

A great example of our impact is fellow presenter Brian Houston, an MU communications professor and director of the Disaster and Community Crisis Center. Prof. Houston studies community awareness about that fault’s risk and its impact on earthquake insurance.

A photo of Eric Sandal, Conne Burnham and President Choi at the Earthquake Summit

Eric Sandvol, Conne Burnham and President Choi

Also attending were Eric Sandvol, MU professor of geological sciences and chair of the Missouri Seismic Safety Commission, as well as Conne Burnham, an emergency management coordinator with Extension. Conne is leading a collaborative USDA grant to train Extension staff to respond in an emergency.

As Missouri’s land-grant university, we have a duty to stand with our state. I appreciated this opportunity to highlight research that supports communities now and for years to come.

— Mun

Meeting our E-Week Royalty

Mar 21, 2023

A photo of President Choi, Dean Noah Manring and the E-Week Court and co-chairs.

E-Week Court, co-chairs, Engineering Dean Noah Manring and President Choi with a proclamation from Gov. Parson.

Mizzou Engineers’ Week (also known as E-Week) dates back to 1903. One of the week’s oldest traditions is to name two students as E-Week King and Queen. Last Friday, I stopped by the college’s awards banquet to congratulate the ten members of the 2023 Royal Court, and all faculty, staff, alumni and students who were honored during the ceremony.

Court candidates received a proclamation from Gov. Mike Parson recognizing E-Week and the accomplishments of all Mizzou engineers. At the St. Patrick’s Ball on Saturday night, students officially crowned Trenton Foster and Kyarra Gorham as King and Queen.

The College of Engineering is a leading innovator for our state and world. E-Week ­­­– and its many traditions ­– celebrates that legacy and the lasting impact of our community.

— Mun

Study Abroad offers global perspectives

Mar 15, 2023

A photo of President Choi and John Middleton, associate vice president for Academic Affairs, with staff from Study Abroad and International Programs.

President Choi, John Middleton (associate vice president for academic affairs) and Mary Stegmaier (vice provost for international programs) with staff from Study Abroad and International Programs.

One out of every five Mizzou undergraduates studies abroad. For the 2022-23 academic year and summer term, around 1,100 Tigers will venture to more than 40 countries across the globe. Managing this complex operation is the well-traveled Mizzou Study Abroad team.

Miguel Ayllon, executive director of international partnerships and study abroad, shared a tour of their recently updated space in Memorial Union. He also introduced me to many of the eleven full-time staff members.

Mizzou Study Abroad matches students with programs that fit their goals. In alignment with the U.S. Department of State, they also provide 24/7 health, safety and security assistance to program participants. Their office is full of flags and artwork showing the connection between our university and those in the U.K., Kyrgyzstan, Belgium, South Korea and South Africa, among many others.

Study Abroad prepares students for a global workforce and helps share Mizzou with the world.

— Mun

Wrestling wins Big 12 title, heads to NCAA tournament

Mar 13, 2023

A photo of Mizzou sophomore Rocky Elam on the podium.

Mizzou sophomore Rocky Elam on the podium.

Mizzou Wrestling earned their twelfth-straight conference title at the Big 12 tournament in Tulsa. One of many highlights was Rocky Elam, who won the conference championship at 197 pounds after a tiebreaker. All ten Tigers finished on the podium.

With their victory, head coach Brian Smith now has the most league titles in Mizzou Athletics history – surpassing Norm Stewart. He was also named Big 12 Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season.

On March 16, the entire team will be back in Tulsa for the NCAA tournament – the same day Men’s Basketball begins March Madness in Sacramento. Good luck to all our student-athletes.

— Mun

MizzouThon raises more than $122K

Mar 8, 2023

A photo of President Choi with the Luebbering family and members of MizzouThon’s executive board.

President Choi with the Luebbering family (in green) and members of MizzouThon’s executive board (in pink).

Last weekend, I stopped by MizzouThon’s Main Event – a 13.1-hour celebration in support of MU Health Care’s Children’s Hospital and the families they serve. More than 350 people attended throughout the day. Around 1 a.m., they announced their total yearly fundraising surpassed $122,000.

At the event, I met Nathan and Renee Luebbering and their daughter, Cassidy-Rae. The Luebberings are one of 12 Miracle Families who partner with MizzouThon year-round. They were grateful for our students’ support, which helps Cassidy-Rae access music therapy and specialized equipment.

MizzouThon is the university’s largest student-run philanthropy and has raised more than $2.25M since its founding in 2008. I want to thank all who helped, especially the 65 members of MizzouThon’s leadership team, including President Nicole Lawson, Vice Presidents Lauren Huff, Jordan Efken, Izzy Goldman, Teresa Voss, Riley Gearhart and Erin Quaid, as well as their MU Health Care advisor, Megan Freese.

I’m grateful for all who organized and participated in this Mizzou tradition.

— Mun

Mizzou Giving Day starts tomorrow

Mar 7, 2023

An illustration for Mizzou Giving Day: March 8-9.Join thousands of fellow Tigers in making a difference on Mizzou Giving Day.

This 24-hour campaign starts at noon on March 8 and wraps up the following day. Give back to what you love most about Mizzou, and check out the many programs you can support for as little as $5. Any level of participation is appreciated.

You can also double your impact with matched gifts for your favorite initiative or sign up as a Giving Day Ambassador to earn exclusive rewards.

Visit for all the ways you can support our community. M-I-Z!

— Mun

Launching incredible careers

Mar 2, 2023

A photo of John Middleton, Craig Benson, President Choi, Ashtin Holman and Ashley Eldridge in the Career Center.

(Left to right) John Middleton (associate vice president for academic affairs), Craig Benson (Career Center interim director), President Choi, Ashtin Holman and Ashley Eldridge.

The Career Center helps put our students on the path to long-term success. The center’s dedicated staff and more than 40 student workers help with many stages of the process, including mock interviews, resume feedback and career consultations. This year, they’re on track to serve nearly 4,000 students in the center and many more through campus presentations, classes and online resources.

Last week, I toured their facilities in the Student Success Center, which include spaces for drop-in visits and scheduled appointments. At the front desk, I met Ashtin Holman, a junior international business major from Kansas City, and Ashley Eldridge, a freshman accountancy major from St. Joseph, Ill. Ashtin has worked at the center since 2020 and was training Ashley. It was great to see Ashtin, Ashley and so many Tigers helping our community.

To better serve students, the Career Center continues to expand by hiring additional career coaches as well as an employer relations coordinator. Their goal is to collaborate even more with academic units and industry partners to ensure that our students preparing to graduate find high-impact careers.

The results speak for themselves: 95.4% of our undergrads have successful outcomes six months after graduating.

— Mun

Hosting the Hawthorn Foundation

Mar 1, 2023

A photo of President Choi presenting to the Hawthorn Foundation.Last week, we welcomed Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe and leaders from around the state for a meeting of the Hawthorn Foundation Board. After gathering in the Walsworth Family Columns Club in Memorial Stadium, we also offered tours of the Roy Blunt NextGen Precision Health building.

We shared Mizzou’s impact, recent record successes, as well as our vision to do even more with the University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR).

I described how investing in MURR – including building a new research reactor – will ensure a safe, domestic supply of radioisotopes while expanding our capacity to discover new treatments. Already, our reactor is the only supplier in the U.S. of four critical radioisotopes used by cancer and cardiac patients. The work to bring a second, larger reactor to MU takes our entire community, including partnerships with elected officials and important stakeholders like Hawthorn Foundation members and supporters.

I appreciated the opportunity to share a bold path forward for our university and state.

— Mun