Engineering a future of excellence

Jul 16 2021

A photo of President Choi outside of Jesse Hall with with undergraduate student handlers, CJ Harris (middle) and Tre Haughton (right)

President Choi standing outside Jesse Hall with two of Steve’s undergraduate student handlers, CJ Harris (middle) and Trevontae’ Haughton (right).

“Steve” stopped by Jesse Hall this week. One of four doglike robots adopted by our College of Engineering (many of you have already met Spot), Steve was accompanied by his team of undergraduate handlers to give me a hands-on demonstration of the discovery and excellence happening on our campus.

Our College of Engineering is pioneering new ways that robotic technologies can enhance our quality of life and strengthen our communities. The student team and I discussed Steve’s future potential such as his role as a safety robot to detect problems like carbon monoxide leaks. Along the way, they demonstrated Steve’s agility — walking down the stairs of Jesse Hall — and technological intelligence.

A photo of Steve meeting his canine counterpart on Francis Quadrangle.

Steve meeting his canine counterpart on Francis Quadrangle.

I am incredibly proud of the work our students are doing to bring more solutions and opportunities to Missouri and the world. This commitment, which is driven by hard work and grounded in compassion, has enabled Mizzou to thrive across two centuries, through two World Wars and, most recently, through the global pandemic. As we look forward to the fall semester, I can’t wait to welcome all of our students back and see where they take us next.

— Mun

Welcoming our new students

Jul 2 2021

A photo of students and their family members passing by Jesse Hall while participating in Summer Welcome.

Students and their family members pass by Jesse Hall while participating in Summer Welcome. (Photo by Sam O’Keefe, University of Missouri.)

The fall semester begins in less than two months, and our Summer Welcome team is hard at work greeting all of our new students. Since June, they have shown thousands of Tigers (and their families) around the University of Missouri — and they’ll continue throughout the next few weeks.

Summer Welcome is an overview of all things Mizzou, and our Student Affairs staff and Summer Welcome student leaders are eager to share everything students need to be successful. Our new Tigers learn about supportive resources, such as the Writing Center and Counseling Center, as well as ways to get involved and meet new friends through student organizations and extracurricular activities. I’ve had the chance to speak with several groups of new students, and it’s been great to share their enthusiasm and help introduce them to our community.

A photo of Summer Welcome student leaders and new students gathering outside Conservation Hall.

Summer Welcome student leaders and new students gather outside Conservation Hall. (Photo by Sam O’Keefe, University of Missouri.)

No matter your interests, there’s a place for you on campus. If you’re a new Tiger, be sure to get involved, make connections and explore all Mizzou has to offer. There are so many resources (and caring people) who can help you be successful and achieve excellence.

Welcome to all of our new students! MIZ!

— Mun

Tigers take center stage

Jun 24 2021

A photo of the cast and crew of Madagascar

The cast and crew of “Madagascar” at a preview performance on Tuesday, June 22. (Photo by Rebecca Allen.)

Bravo to the Theatre Department on yesterday’s premiere of “Madagascar: A Musical Adventure.” Held outdoors on Traditions Plaza, it’s the department’s first performance with a large in-person audience in more than a year.

“Madagascar” is directed by Joy Powell, an associate professor at MU, and features 10 of our Tigers as animals who escape from Central Park Zoo and other characters. Be sure to catch one of the upcoming family-friendly performances throughout the next two weeks.

A photo of Rachel Misner, Reggie Coleman, Preston Wilson and Nathan Le as characters in Madagascar

(Left to right) Rachel Misner, Reggie Coleman, Preston Wilson and Nathan Le play their parts. (Photo by Rebecca Allen.)

The Theatre Department — like so many programs at Mizzou — demonstrated incredible versatility over the past year. From Zoom musicals to socially distanced shows, they found creative ways to tell the stories audiences love. I’m so proud that they continue to share their immense talent with our community in a safe way.

Congratulations again to the cast and crew. I look forward to even more opening nights after our full return in August.

— Mun

Excellence

Jun 17 2021

A photo of Jesse Hall and the Columns

This is the fourth and final post in a series on the four University of Missouri values — Respect, Responsibility, Discovery, Excellence — and how they guide our mission as the state’s flagship, land-grant university.

We recently began our Summer Welcome sessions for new Tigers and are eagerly preparing for a full in-person return this August. But before we launch into our “new normal,” let’s celebrate all our community achieved throughout an unprecedented year.

During the 2020-21 academic year we awarded more than 8,000 degrees, announced critical collaborations with industry partners such as Thermo Fisher Scientific and broke ground on a new facility for the Sinclair School of Nursing. We completed the “Mizzou: Our Time to Lead” campaign with a record $1.41 billion and received the largest gift in the history of the College of Veterinary Medicine, among so many other accomplishments.

If we can do this much in a pandemic, I can’t wait to see what we achieve next.

Excellence at Mizzou can be found in many places, whether on Faurot Field, onstage at the Rhynsburger Theatre or in a lab at the Bond Life Sciences Center. It’s also embedded in how we treat one another, and it flourishes when everyone feels like they belong and can contribute their own voice and perspective.

In a difficult year, we still found ways to come together and do remarkable things. I can’t think of a better demonstration of our commitment to excellence in all its forms.

— Mun

Discovery

Jun 10 2021

A photo of Jesse Hall and the ColumnsThis is the third post in a series on the four University of Missouri values — Respect, Responsibility, Discovery, Excellence — and how they guide our mission as the state’s flagship, land-grant university.

If you pass by the site of NextGen Precision Health, you’ll notice progress is happening fast. I was at the groundbreaking ceremony in June 2019, and I’m so proud that in just four months NextGen will be open and expanding our ability to serve Missourians.

We’ve made great strides not only on the facility, but also in welcoming researchers who will use NextGen’s resources to save lives. Dr. Richard Barohn and Dr. Tom Spencer, among others, have done an amazing job recruiting faculty who will grow NextGen into a hub of innovation in the Midwest.

NextGen puts our university at the forefront of discovery. It will be a place where interdisciplinarity fuels amazing research breakthroughs. Those breakthroughs — whether in population health, telemedicine or cancer treatments — have the potential to change the world.

This is a transformative moment for Mizzou, the other UM System universities, our industry partners and the entire state. NextGen leverages our collective power to make discoveries with an immediate impact. And there’s no greater impact than improving the lives of Missourians.

— Mun

Responsibility

Jun 3 2021

A photo of Jesse Hall and the ColumnsThis is the second post in a series on the four University of Missouri values — Respect, Responsibility, Discovery, Excellence — and how they guide our mission as the state’s flagship, land-grant university.

A few weeks ago, we welcomed back many of our MU staff members for in-person work. I’m pleased to once again see so many colleagues around our beautiful campus.

None of this progress would be possible without our incredible staff who — like all Tigers — found new ways to work under trying circumstances. Together, we proved that we are resilient and can use technology to improve collaboration.

Responsibility is about our obligations to each other and — as a land-grant university — to the citizens of Missouri. For many months, that meant a radical change to the routines that shape our lives. Because of all you accomplished, we overcame so many challenges and had a safe and successful year.

Looking ahead, I’m excited for our full in-person return this fall and the resumption of traditions that define the MU community. Thank you again to all of our staff, faculty and students for the many ways you contribute to our university’s mission.

— Mun

Respect

May 28 2021

A photo of Jesse Hall and the Columns This is the first post in a series on the four University of Missouri values — Respect, Responsibility, Discovery, Excellence — and how they guide our mission as the state’s flagship, land-grant university.

As Memorial Day approaches, we take time to remember those who died in service to our country. We honor the fallen, and we also recognize the sacrifices of our current student-veterans who carry on a legacy of service and offer such a great example of respect.

One of the ways we show our gratitude is by providing resources that support those students and their families. For example, our recently expanded Veterans Center is a place for comradery, study and connection to wellness resources. The Veterans Clinic in our School of Law is another fantastic program that lets law students advocate on behalf of veterans in our community.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is also one of our partners for NextGen Precision Health. VA researchers will collaborate on breakthroughs that make life better for so many people. These are just a few of the great programs that impact service members.

We’re committed to inclusive excellence for veterans, and for students from all backgrounds, because we know each person brings a valuable perspective to our learning, research and engagement. It’s another example of how shared respect empowers individuals and drives transformative change in Missouri.

— Mun

 

MU Softball leading the charge

May 24 2021

A photo of Jordan Weber pitching

Jordan Weber pitching a no-hitter during the Missouri-Iowa State game, May 23, 2021 (photo courtesy of Zach Bland, Mizzou Athletics).

We may have finished the spring semester, but Mizzou Softball is just getting started on a postseason run. Sunday, they beat Iowa State 5-0 to win the Columbia Regional title. It was an amazing game, including a home run by Brooke Wilmes and an incredible no-hitter by Jordan Weber — the first for the program since 2013.

A photo of the Mizzou Softball celebrating winning the Columbia Regional

Mizzou Softball celebrates winning the Columbia Regional (photo courtesy of Zach Bland, Mizzou Athletics).

It was so good to see fans — including several MU coaches — fill Mizzou Softball Stadium to cheer on our Tigers. I’m thrilled we can once again safely come together as a community and support the excellence of our student-athletes.

Congrats to Coach Larissa Anderson and the team! Next up is the Columbia Super Regional where the Tigers will face James Madison University here later this week. I’m sure it’ll be a great series. The winner will then advance to the NCAA Women’s College World Series. MIZ!

— Mun

 

Economics Department wins diversity and inclusion award

May 20 2021

A photo of Professor Trevon Logan meeting with students

Trevon Logan (center), Hazel C. Youngberg Distinguished Professor of Economics at Ohio State University, visited campus as part of the Diversity in Economics seminar series. Note: this photo was taken before the COVID-19 pandemic.

A proud Tiger reached out to me about our Department of Economics — winner of the inaugural Award for Outstanding Achievement in Diversity and Inclusion from the American Economic Association (AEA). We celebrated this incredible honor a few months back, and I’m pleased to again recognize our faculty, staff and students for making a difference.

In the award application, Jeffrey Milyo, chair and professor of economics, highlighted the department’s collective progress toward creating a more welcoming learning environment. Some advancements include redesigning an introductory microeconomics course to better cover diversity-related topics, launching the Diversity in Economics seminar series and facilitating peer mentorships for incoming undergraduates. The department plans to build on these programs and launch new DEI initiatives in the future.

Amazing discoveries are possible when we respect one another and share our own perspectives. I want to thank everyone in the Department of Economics for their contributions to the Mizzou community. Congratulations on this well-deserved honor!

— Mun

Congratulations Class of 2021!

May 14 2021

A photo of Jordi Alonso and his dog Frida

Jordi Alonso and Frida celebrate together. (Photo by Mario Alonso.)

Between last weekend and this weekend, we are celebrating more than 5,500 graduating students during our 2021 commencement ceremonies. That’s remarkable! There’s no better way to jump start this weeklong celebration than hosting two of our beloved traditions: Tiger Prowl and Senior Sendoff.

On May 7, Class of 2021 students (and many of their four-legged friends) gathered on Francis Quadrangle for photos and a final run through the Columns — symbolically entering the world as Tiger alumni. English PhD candidate Jordi Alonso joined his parents and his dog, Frida, to honor this moment. Jordi and Frida dressed in matching caps and gowns for the occasion and crossed through the Columns together.

A photo of Ashley Rolf and other students running for Tiger Prowl

Ashley Rolf (in yellow) and other students run toward the Columns.

Another student, Ashley Rolf, who will graduate next December with a degree in information technology, is one of four Tigers in her family. She’s thrilled to follow in their footsteps.

It’s so inspiring to see all of our Tigers carry their hard work, success and excellence into the next chapter of their lives. Congratulations again to our Class of 2021. I can’t wait to see what you accomplish next!

— Mun