Celebrating our incredible staff members

May 11 2021

A photo of Teresa Hall receiving an award from President Choi

Teresa Hall celebrates 40 years at Mizzou.

Our incredible staff do so much to support our community and uphold the mission of Mizzou. To show our gratitude, the Staff Advisory Council (SAC) is hosting Staff Recognition Week from May 17-21. This annual celebration is held the week after commencement, but this year it’s also perfectly timed to welcome back those who are returning to on-campus work.

A photo of Chalana M. Scales-Ferguson, Esq. receiving an award from Vice Chancellor Maurice Gipson

Chalana M. Scales-Ferguson, Esq. receives an MU Inclusive Excellence Award from Vice Chancellor Maurice Gipson.

We’ll launch the week on Monday, May 17 with a virtual ceremony honoring our 2021 Outstanding Staff Awards recipients and those celebrating 40 years or more of service to Mizzou. I recently joined Vice Chancellors Maurice Gipson and Gary Ward on Traditions Plaza to film part of the event and present plaques to some of our longest-serving staff and to our 10 award winners. All of our award winners were nominated by their coworkers. To watch this ceremony and view a complete schedule of the other virtual and in-person events, visit the Staff Advisory Council site.

I want to thank all of our staff once more for their remarkable contributions. Their strength and commitment have been the backbone of our success this year.

— Mun

A proud tradition of excellence and service

May 7 2021

A photo of President Choi speaking at the opening of the 2021 Joint Services Pass in Review

President Choi offers opening remarks at the 2021 Joint Services Pass in Review.

This morning, I had the privilege to participate in MU’s annual ROTC Joint Services Pass in Review. This ceremony, dating back to the 1860s, honors two of our university’s greatest traditions: excellence and service.

Mizzou has a long and proud military heritage, with Tiger veterans going back to the university’s founding and ROTC programs established on our campus since WWI. Today, and even with the immense challenges of this past year, our student cadets continue to represent Mizzou with incredible honor and ambition.

A photo of MU ROTC cadets at the 2021 Joint Services Pass in Review.

MU ROTC cadets participating in the ceremony.

I want to thank all of our cadets for their service, especially 42 of our graduating cadets who will continue on as commissioned officers of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. I also want to recognize Lt. Col. Tara Bradley (Department Head of Army ROTC and Military Science), Lt. Col. Gregory Vice (Air Force ROTC, Aerospace Department) and Capt. David Dry (Naval and Marine ROTC) for their leadership of our students and programs as we continue to build on the powerful legacy of Mizzou.

— Mun

Welcoming our new Tigers

May 4 2021

A photo of Brianna Davis

Brianna Davis

On May 1 we celebrated Decision Day for new Tigers. Incoming students were encouraged to use the #IChooseMizzou hashtag last week to help us celebrate this next big step in their lives. Posts were seen more than 1.6 million times.

A photo of Char Krippner

Char Krippner

First-year student Brianna Davis and transfer student Char Krippner were two of the many who shared how thrilled they are to join the Mizzou community. Brianna is a St. Louis resident who will enroll as a journalism major this fall. And Char, who is joining us from Tempe, Ariz., will study special education. Char comes from a long line of Mizzou alumni, and she will now join her older sister, Kit, on campus.

This new generation of Tigers is already poised to strengthen our university and make a transformative impact across Missouri and around the world. Congratulations to all, and we can’t wait to meet them during Summer Welcome!

— Mun

Supporting Mizzou innovation

Apr 30 2021

A photo of Ruth Ogunniyi business plan

Ruth Ogunniyi presented her plan for a home health business.

I recently heard about a virtual entrepreneurship event hosted by our Sinclair School of Nursing. Modeled after the reality show “Shark Tank,” the event included presentations from two exceptional nursing students, Ruth Ogunniyi and Sean Pridgeon, to Sinclair faculty and Office of Research and Economic Development staff. They then received feedback. In addition, every student at the event got to hear from the panel about what it takes to launch a successful business.

A photo of Sean Pridgeon's business plan

Sean Pridgeon pitched his resiliency education service.

This event is one more example of how the University of Missouri — as the state’s public, land-grant, research university — generates the opportunities and innovations that greatly benefit Missouri’s economic landscape. Other programs such as the Mizzou Venture Mentoring Service provide mentorship to young entrepreneurs. And already six Mizzou-Made startups have received $95,000 in funding through our UM System pitch competition “Entrepreneur Quest” since the program began in 2019.

The new generation of industry leaders who will shape our communities for years to come begins here, at Mizzou. By investing in and empowering our incredible students, we empower Missouri.

— Mun

Celebrating our Class of 2020

Apr 27 2021

Photo of commencement in Mizzou Arena

Chairs were spaced in Mizzou Arena to allow for social distancing.

Over the weekend, we held in-person celebrations for MU’s spring and fall classes of 2020. These Tigers graduated amidst historic challenges. Using their education and talent along with the networks they built at Mizzou, many went on to thrive despite so many obstacles. It was such an honor to welcome back close to 1,500 of our 2020 graduates and give them the recognition they deserve.

Photo of Clarke Blodgett in Truman feet

Clarke Blodgett reveals his secret.

One of those students was Clarke Blodgett, a native of Macon, Mo. who graduated last May with a bachelor’s in agribusiness management. It’s a longstanding tradition that students who embody a certain local tiger reveal their identity by wearing plush paws at commencement. Clarke joined another student, Austin Walker, in signaling that they were the ones in the suit. Clarke is now a district manager for Frito Lay in the St. Louis area, and I was glad to see that he could return to Mizzou and continue one of the many traditions that make commencement special.

We’re so pleased that Clarke, Austin and the rest of our Class of 2020, had this opportunity to celebrate with friends, family and the Tiger community. Next up is the Class of 2021!

— Mun

Photo of 2020 commencement

President Choi congratulates fellow Tiger, Austin Walker.

Join us for a Tiger Support session this Friday

Apr 21 2021

Photos of Jesse and the Columns before spring commencement 2020George Floyd’s death, as well as continued acts of violence and loss of life, have been traumatic for many.

Yesterday, Provost Latha Ramchand and I shared resources for reporting acts of discrimination and harassment, as well as providing support to our students who are feeling stress.

We will host an in-person opportunity for our students, faculty and staff to participate in a Tiger Support session on Friday, April 23 at 3 p.m. in Jesse Auditorium. Provost Ramchand and other leaders representing areas of support services will join me at this session.

It is our duty — each one of us individually and collectively — to do the work of inclusive excellence here at Mizzou and around the country and world. I hope to see many of you this Friday.

Please let us know if you can attend by writing us at president@missouri.edu so that we can ensure social distancing. If you can’t join us in person, we also welcome your comments and suggestions to the same email.

— Mun

Mizzou musical excellence

Apr 13 2021

A photo of the Mizzou Brass Quintet.

(From left to right) Graduate Student Dakota Bartel, Professor Amanda Collins, Graduate Student Theo Learnard, Professor Timothy Howe and Professor Iskander Akhmadullin of the Mizzou Brass Quintet.

At the invitation of School of Music Professor Iskander Akhmadullin, my wife, Suzanne, and I attended our first in-person recital at the Sinquefield Music Center this past Sunday. We were guests for the afternoon performance of the Mizzou Brass Quintet. The Quintet played a variety of music ranging from Jennifer Higdon to Victor Ewald to Jelly Roll Morton.

So many of us have gone without attending musical performances and hearing live music over the last year. Being able to attend this performance and hear live music from a virtuosic group of musicians was very special! I can’t wait to attend even more of these events in the coming months from across our arts community as we slowly (and cautiously) return to these wonderful activities.

— Mun


Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Week of the Young Child

Apr 9 2021

A photo of students and educators at the Columns.

Students and educators at the Columns.

From April 10-16, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Week of the Young Child. I am so proud that we can honor the critical work of our early childhood educators in this way.

They embody Mizzou’s enduring commitment to lifelong learning and our strong core values, and they have an immense impact on the teaching, research and outreach missions of the university. Even during the pandemic, our early childhood educators stepped up selflessly and with incredible compassion to teach, serve and support our communities. We are so grateful.


A sign supporting COVID protocols in the MU Child Development Lab.I want to recognize our amazing teachers, student-teachers and staff who support our Child Development Lab and the Adventure Club.

I also want to acknowledge the important work of our educational researchers and scholars. They continue to grow the university’s statewide and national impact as a public, land-grant, AAU institution with projects in educational development, pedagogy, accessibility and inclusion, and more.

A photo of student learning.

Student learning.








Please join me in celebrating these and the many other contributions of our current and future Mizzou educators!

— Mun

Welcoming Senator Roy Blunt

Apr 6 2021

A photo of the NextGen Precision Health facility as of March 26, 2021.

The NextGen Precision Health facility as of March 26, 2021.

We are honored to host U.S. Senator Roy Blunt on our Mizzou campus on Wednesday of this week. We are giving him a tour of the MU Health Care vaccination clinic and then hosting a roundtable discussion with university leaders and faculty members on the health challenges facing our state.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Mizzou has been committed to protecting the health of our local and statewide communities. The state of Missouri has designated MU Health Care as one of three sites in the mid-Missouri region (Region F) to receive a vaccine allocation intended to provide high-volume community vaccination. We are honored to be charged with this responsibility. Being a national leader in health care means stepping up when your people and communities need you most. We will continue to do that moving forward. And with the grand opening of our NextGen Precision Health facility in October, we will be able to accelerate life-changing discovery and efficiently move that research from the bench to the bedside, bringing new solutions to our citizens and boosting Missouri’s economic growth.

As Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee Labor/HHS, Senator Blunt secured six consecutive funding increases for the National Institutes of Health, bringing the total increase to $12.85 billion, or 42.7%. So, it’s no surprise that Senator Blunt has been a champion of our NextGen initiative from the beginning, and he remains committed to furthering the work of our university to expand health care access and efficacy.

We are so excited he has the opportunity to see this hard work that will improve and save lives in Missouri.

— Mun

Congratulations to the Mizzou Chess Team

Mar 30 2021

A photo of Mizzou Chess Team members.

Mizzou Chess Team members.

Congratulations to the Mizzou Chess Team! Formed only a few years ago with contributions from the Saint Louis Chess Club, which is supported by Rex and Jeanne Sinquefield, our Chess Team reached the International Chess Federation’s World University Online Championships this past weekend. This tournament attracted over 1,300 participants from 200 universities and 84 countries, and Mizzou was the most successful university in competition. Our Chess Team came, they competed and they placed first in the world for the Blitz Cup and were runner-up for the Rapid Cup! Our team also won five individual medals:

  • Mikhail Antipov (freshman) won a Silver Medal in Rapid and a Bronze Medal in Blitz
  • Olga Badelka (freshman) won a Silver Medal in Blitz and a Bronze Medal in Rapid
  • Grigoriy Oparin (graduate student) won a Bronze Medal in Rapid

I’m so proud of their achievements. Mizzou Chess Team members come from around the world. But with the pandemic, only a few of its members were able to be on campus this year, with others studying and competing from their home countries. Nevertheless, their excellence has persisted.

In addition to this most recent accomplishment, MU’s all-female chess team won the “best women’s team” award at the 2020 Pan-American Intercollegiate Championships in early January, while the MU Chess A team placed sixth in that event. And last September, the Chess Team earned gold and silver medals at the 2019 World Prestigious University Chess invitational in Tianjin, China. They were one of only five teams representing the United States at that tournament, competing alongside Saint Louis University, Harvard, Yale and Princeton.

Please join me in celebrating our team, Grandmaster Cristian Chirila (MU Chess Team Coach) and the College of Arts and Science for representing Mizzou so well across the nation and around the world.

— Mun