Empowering Missouri’s youth

Aug 27 2021

A photo collage of Big Brothers Big Sisters mentors and youth.

Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) pairs youth with mentors from the local community.

Yesterday, I enjoyed speaking at the Chancellor’s Reception for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Missouri. This “Countdown to Kickoff” event promotes the important mentorship opportunities that Big Brothers Big Sisters provides for our community’s youth. It was great talking with fellow supporters and sharing the amazing stories of “Bigs” and their “Littles.”

A photo of President Choi and Jeff Cook.

President Choi with MU alum, Jeff Cook. Choi met with fellow Big Brothers Big Sisters supporters in the Chancellor’s Suite at Memorial Stadium (photo courtesy of Wally Pfeffer and Nancy Talson).

As Missouri’s public, flagship, land-grant university, Mizzou strives to empower young people in every community across our state. Mentorship through Big Brothers Big Sisters is a vital extension of that critical work. Through our shared commitment to education, access and outreach, MU and BBBS are working together to support the next generation of leaders who will help our communities thrive for decades to come.

It’s just one more way Mizzou works to fulfill its mission and build a brighter future for all Missourians.

— Mun

Welcome to the Fall Semester!

Aug 24 2021

The fall semester is here! To mark our return, I wanted to bring you a short video because we have a lot to celebrate.

After so much hard work over the last year, we are returning to full, in-person operations. I am so excited we can take this important step together. Our community has shown incredible resilience, commitment and respect for others as we work to protect our core missions and enhance the ways we serve our communities and Missouri. These values remain essential to our continued success and ability to have the kind of fall semester we know is possible.

More than 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students are joining us as the newest members of our Tiger family. Already, we have been able to commemorate some of our great fall traditions such as Tiger Walk and First Roar. And I had the opportunity on Saturday to join Marching Mizzou at its final weekend of Band Camp to thank our remarkable student musicians for making the student experience at Mizzou so special.

A photo of President Choi speaking to Marching Mizzou.

President Choi speaking to Marching Mizzou, Aug. 21, 2021.

We also officially welcomed our new Director of Athletics, Desiree Reed-Francois, to Columbia yesterday. She is all moved in and ready to lead Mizzou Athletics into its excellent future.

There are so many incredible milestones for Mizzou in the coming months: a return to a full fall Mizzou Football schedule, the groundbreaking celebration of MU’s new Children’s Hospital on Oct. 1, the grand opening of our transformative NextGen Precision Health building on Oct. 19, Homecoming, and much more. It’s going to be a busy few months, but it will also be an extraordinary time as we move Mizzou forward in our research, academics and impact.

Thank you to everyone — our faculty, staff, coaches, alumni, supporters and students — for all that you do to support our university and the many communities we serve across Missouri and around the world.

— Mun

Missouri State Fair

Aug 19 2021

A photo of President Choi with Kevin Roberts, chair of the Missouri State Fair and a MU School of Law alumnus.

President Choi with Kevin Roberts, chair of the Missouri State Fair and a MU School of Law alumnus.

It’s the middle of August, which means it’s time for the Missouri State Fair! And what a wonderful fair it is this year.

I’ve had the chance to visit with Kevin Roberts, chair of the Missouri State Fair and a Mizzou Law alumnus, and watch America’s Band, The Beach Boys. I also took the opportunity to stop by the Mizzou tents and got to meet many of our great citizens and alumni who support the university in many ways.

This year’s fair is particularly special as we continue to commemorate Missouri’s bicentennial — two hundred years of excellence and impact for our state. I’m so proud to support this great tradition of celebrating Missourians and to represent the University of Missouri in this historical moment.

— Mun

Congratulations to our 2020 Henry S. Geyer Award winners

Aug 18 2021

A photo of Robin Wenneker, Curator of the University of Missouri; Mary Anne McCollum, 2020 Geyer Award recipient; U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, 2020 Geyer Award recipient; Sabrina McDonnell, President of the Mizzou Alumni Association; Mun Y. Choi, President of the University of Missouri.

(Left to right): Robin Wenneker, Curator of the University of Missouri; Mary Anne McCollum, 2020 Geyer Award Recipient; U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, 2020 Geyer Award Recipient; Sabrina McDonnell, President of the Mizzou Alumni Association; Mun Y. Choi, President of the University of Missouri.

Last night, I had the privilege to help celebrate two individuals whose advocacy has made an impact on higher education in Missouri and the university we all love. We honored U.S. Senator Roy Blunt and Mary Anne McCollum (a former Columbia mayor and two-time Mizzou graduate) as the recipients of the 2020 Henry S. Geyer Award — right here in the Jesse Hall rotunda.

Both recipients have dedicated their lives to public service, and they have been essential partners in MU’s journey to serve citizens throughout our state.

Senator Blunt’s leadership has directly resulted in the dramatic increase in NIH funding for biomedical research and for Pell grants, and he remains a staunch advocate of some our university’s top priorities including NextGen Precision Health. Mary McCollum is a thoughtful, committed and innovative leader who supports so much of the critical work of our faculty and staff, as well as the education of our students. Through her service on alumni leadership groups, she continues to advance the university’s priorities and growth.

Please join me in congratulating both of our 2020 Geyer Award recipients on this much deserved honor.

— Mun

 

A new era in Mizzou Athletics

Aug 11 2021

A photo of Director Desiree Reed-Francois on the LED screen at Faurot Field.

A photo of Director Desiree Reed-Francois on the LED screen at Faurot Field.

A new era in Mizzou Athletics begins today! We will win championships. Director Desiree Reed-Francois knows how important a culture of alignment is between excellence in athletics and the strong academic and research missions of an AAU institution. As she says, “We have to all be all-in.” I couldn’t agree more.

I am very excited to welcome the Francois family to Columbia!

— Mun

Happy 200th birthday, Missouri!

Aug 6 2021

 

A photo of President Mun Y. Choi speaking at the Together for '21 Fest kick-off event, August 5, 2021.

President Mun Y. Choi speaking at the Together for ’21 Fest kick-off event, Aug. 5, 2021.

Granted statehood in 1821, Missouri celebrates its bicentennial this year. Communities and organizations across the state have spent years planning this remarkable and comprehensive commemoration of our state’s history, its impact and its future.

Last night, I had the privilege to help kick-off Together for ’21 Fest at the new and beautiful State Historical Society of Missouri. I joined other statewide leaders — including Governor Mike Parson, Columbia Mayor Brian Treece, Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin and former Missouri Senator Kurt Schaefer — to reflect on our state’s legacy and shared purpose as Missourians.

Over the last 200 years, Missouri has overcome many challenges and risen to become a hub of exploration, transportation, invention, economic growth and artistic creation. I am deeply proud to be a Missourian, and proud that the University of Missouri (itself established in 1839) has become a common place where all Missourians from every background can come together to learn, discover and succeed.

If you have the chance, I encourage you to participate in the statewide festivities. As Tigers, we are all part of this incredible legacy. But most importantly, we are charting a future of excellence through our education, scholarship and engagement that will make Missouri’s next 200 years even more impactful.

— Mun

The Siemens Healthineers MAGNETOM Terra 7T MRI Scanner is here!

Aug 4 2021

Left to right: Eric Peterson, Project Manager, Siemens Healthineers Mun Choi, PhD, President, University of Missouri Talissa Altes, MD, Chair, MU School of Medicine Department of Radiology Richard Barohn, MD, Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs; Executive Director for NextGen Precision Health Jonathan Curtright, CEO, MU Health Care Thomas Spencer, PhD, Interim Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development; Scientific Director for NextGen Precision Health

Left to right: Eric Peterson, Project Manager, Siemens Healthineers. Mun Choi, PhD, President, University of Missouri. Talissa Altes, MD, Chair, MU School of Medicine Department of Radiology. Richard Barohn, MD, Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs; Executive Director for NextGen Precision Health. Jonathan Curtright, CEO, MU Health Care. Thomas Spencer, PhD, Interim Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development; Scientific Director for NextGen Precision Health.

Today we leap forward in our NextGen Precision Health project as the Siemens Healthineers MAGNETOM Terra 7T MRI scanner arrived for installation. Say hello to the future!

The only machine of its kind in Missouri, this state-of-the-art scanner is one of the most advanced imaging machines available. It provides resolution that is two times greater than the conventional scanner. Our researchers will be able to see complex brain and knee structures with remarkable detail, aiding the early detection and more refined treatment of neurological and knee injuries, as well as diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

As the centerpiece of our new NextGen Precision Health building, the 7T MRI scanner is part of a world-class imaging suite we are developing in partnership with Siemens Healthineers through the Alliance for Precision Health. Other technologies in this suite include a PET-CT and a conventional 3T MRI scanner. Together, these tools will enable our systemwide researchers to address some of the most challenging diseases for animals and humans — in both a research and clinical capacity.

Our mission to transform health care for communities across Missouri and around the world remains one of the University of Missouri’s top priorities. To do so, we have to think big and go bold. With revolutionary technologies such as the 7T and our cutting-edge imaging suite — housed in the university’s first research facility built in over a decade — we do just that.

What we’re building here may look like science fiction. But its impact is very, very real.

— Mun

Class of 2025 White Coat Ceremony

Aug 2 2021

The University of Missouri School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony for the Class of 2025 at Jesse Auditorium in Columbia, Mo. on Friday, July 30, 2021.

The School of Medicine’s Class of 2025 recites the Declaration of Geneva at its White Coat Ceremony, July 30.

Congratulations to our School of Medicine Class of 2025! What an honor it was to host their White Coat Ceremony last Friday in Jesse Auditorium.

As the Class of 2025 stood together — for the first time — and recited the Declaration of Geneva, their mission was clear. They each pledged to “dedicate my life to the service of humanity… foster the honor and noble traditions of the medical profession… [and] share my medical knowledge for the benefit of the patient and the advancement of healthcare.” I am deeply grateful to each one of them for choosing Mizzou as the launchpad for this journey.

The University of Missouri’s commitment to the health and well-being of our state and the world continues to shine through the medical professionals who devote their lives to our citizens and communities. Last year alone, MU Health Care saw more than 230,000 in-state patients. In addition, MU Health Care’s Missouri Telehealth Network saw nearly 36,000 patients.

Let us all thank our medical professionals for their tireless work, and celebrate the next generation of medical doctors who will serve Missouri and beyond.

— Mun

The importance of our land-grant mission

Jul 29 2021

A photo of Travis Harper demonstrating beekeeping basics for the Heroes to Hives program.

Travis Harper demonstrates beekeeping basics for the Heroes to Hives program.

On August 2, I’ll have the privilege to participate in the 2021 Mini Land Grant Conference North Central Region. University and organizational leaders from across the region will come together virtually for speeches, panels, discussions and a keynote address from Iowa State University President, Wendy Wintersteen, as we focus on “Leading Change, Creating the Future.

At the University of Missouri, I see us leading change and creating the future every day through our commitment to our land grant mission and the work of MU Extension. For example, this summer Travis Harper, a field specialist in agronomy in Warrensburg, showed veterans and their families the ins-and-outs of beekeeping through the Heroes to Hives program.

A photo of Monica Haaf and Estrella Carmona teach during Cooking Matters, the first time the course has been adapted for Spanish-speaking families.

(top left to right) Monica Haaf and Estrella Carmona teach during Cooking Matters, the first time the course has been adapted for Spanish-speaking families.

And in MU’s on-going mission to serve all Missouri residents from all backgrounds, Monica Haaf, a nutrition program associate in Kansas City, and Estrella Carmona, a county engagement specialist in nutrition and health education in Ste. Genevieve County, adapted the popular Cooking Matters healthy eating class into Spanish. The five virtual sessions were so successful that they’re going to continue the series this fall. Other Extension initiatives support women in agriculture, farmers with disabilities, farmers markets in urban areas and producers from Amish communities.

The work our university does in service of our land grant mission remains one of the most important ways we translate the incredible efforts of our students, faculty and staff into the impact that builds a stronger Missouri, a thriving Midwest and a better world.

— Mun

New Mississippi River Basin Ag & Water Desk

Jul 22 2021

I am deeply grateful to the Walton Family Foundation for its recent $1.4 million, three-year grant to MU’s School of Journalism to create the Mississippi River Basin Ag & Water Desk.

Led by professor Sara Shipley Hiles, and supported by professors Earnest Perry and Ryan Famuliner, this project will establish a network of journalists from across the region to enhance coverage of the environmental issues facing this critical water system. It represents a working partnership between our J-School, Report for America and the Society of Environmental Journalists. It also plays an important role in the School’s Center for Science Communication.

A photo of Earnest L. Perry, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research; Sara Shipley Hiles, Associate Professor; and Ryan Famuliner, Associate Professor.

Left to right: Earnest L. Perry, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research; Sara Shipley Hiles, Associate Professor; and Ryan Famuliner, Associate Professor.

As the needs of our environment and food systems shift, MU students and researchers are hard at work developing forward-thinking solutions. That’s the first step. The next critical step is communicating the impact of that vital work to communities across Missouri and the Midwest. The Center for Science Communication and its new Mississippi River Basin Ag & Water Desk represent the nexus for this imperative.

Thank you again to the Walton Family Foundation, our School of Journalism, our faculty leaders and our students. Recognizing a need and then building the academic and scholarly infrastructure to address that need remain the backbone of Mizzou’s public, land-grant, research mission.

— Mun