Emphasizing our mission
Feb 2 2021
Over the past two weeks, I sat down with our state legislators and other constituents in conversations about our university. I emphasized the impact that we provide for Missouri through our missions of education, research and engagement. It was clear to me during those conversations that our legislators recognize the value of Mizzou, and that our communities are behind us. They’ve seen our faculty, staff and students rise to meet the challenges we face, to protect and enhance our communities, and to pursue excellence at every turn.
These days, I don’t get the chance to celebrate this excellence enough. That’s why I felt so fortunate last Friday when Provost Ramchand and I had the opportunity to recognize the extraordinary recipients of our 2020 Faculty Recognition Awards at a virtual ceremony. The work our faculty are doing benefits the community, the country and society with seminal contributions across the arts, humanities and STEM fields. This comprehensive focus on our mission sees us through to be a stronger university, and it provides a robust framework for the work of our staff and students.
The power in each of us
Jan 28 2021
This week has been a powerful week.
On Monday, Provost Ramchand, Vice Chancellor Maurice Gipson and I had the opportunity to speak with Ambassador Andrew Young. This phone call was ahead of his keynote speech on Tuesday for MU’s 2021 celebration of MLK, “Infinite Hope.” The four of us talked about the role of reconciliation in pursuing change and how important education is to young people.
Then, on Tuesday evening, Ambassador Young spoke to our university and broader community. He talked about the “spiritual power” that influenced his work and the work of many other changemakers. He said, “That’s the same kind of power that dwelled in Martin Luther King, and that dwells in you.”
Later that evening, with those words in my mind, I attended a special pre-screening of a film at Columbia’s Ragtag Cinema about AIDS educator and MTV’s “The Real World: San Francisco” star Pedro Zamora. The documentary, “Keep the Cameras Rolling: The Pedro Zamora Way,” is directed by Professors Bill Horner and Stacey Woelfel and features the contributions of Mizzou students from the School of Journalism, Department of Political Science and the School of Music. It was a beautiful and moving film that featured moments of incredible courage, love and acceptance. It helps us reflect even more on this idea of individual power and gain a deeper understanding of humanity.
Jan 25 2021
With the start of 2021 and a new semester, I have a renewed hope for Mizzou’s future. There are so many excellent things happening at our university. As President, I have the unique opportunity to see and experience so much of this excellence, and hear the remarkable stories of our students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members.
I started this blog to bring these insights into the spotlight. I’ll create new posts a couple of times each week as I underscore the individual passion and principles that create the collective impact Mizzou makes on the world. We need this impact more than ever now. Professor David Rose at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, a friend and colleague, recently published an op-ed to explore two core ideals that are of particular importance these days. Individualism and empathy are essential components that have served the American democratic experiment so well. Universities have an important role in providing the rigorous education to our students that explores and supports these principles.
I see this role playing out every day in our classrooms and across our campus. I’ll continue to explore these ideas and much more in future blogs.
With great respect and admiration — and of course, M-I-Z!