Distinguished faculty member retires after 52 years

Jun 7, 2022

A photo of President Choi, Mary Sebacher, Dr. Kathy Moss, Dr. Carla Allen and Dean Kris Hagglund.

(Left to right) President Choi, Mary Sebacher and her colleagues Dr. Kathy Moss, Dr. Carla Allen and School of Health Professions Dean Kris Hagglund.

We recently celebrated Professor Emerita Mary Sebacher’s 52-year career at the University of Missouri’s radiography program.

Though officially retired in 2003 from the School of Health Professions, she remained at Mizzou through the spring of 2022 in an adjunct role. She served in leadership positions throughout her career and was honored with the title of Assistant Clinical Professor Emerita in 2019.

Professor Emerita Sebacher trained generations of radiographers – giving them the skills they need to help patients and achieve their goals. Her impact is felt wherever her students serve.

— Mun

MU, NextGen faculty working to cure diabetes

May 31, 2022

A photo of Drs. Esma Yolcu and Havla Shirwan in a lab.

Drs. Esma Yolcu and Haval Shirwan

New research by MU School of Medicine professors Haval Shirwan and Esma Yolcu could lead to better treatments for Type 1 diabetes.

Their recent publication in Science Advances is the result of 20 years of research from the conception of the immunomodulatory strategy to testing in various small animal models. In a recent study collaborating with Harvard and Georgia Tech faculty, the researchers found that transplanting insulin-producing pancreas cells can successfully treat Type 1 diabetes in a large animal model. The next step is working with industry partners to translate these advances into treatments that could help patients around the world.

Drs. Shirwan and Yolcu are among the first faculty in the new Roy Blunt NextGen Precision Health building to publish in a high-impact academic journal. They’re also husband and wife.

We’re proud their accomplishments are generating global media buzz, and we look forward to even more NextGen-powered breakthroughs.

— Mun

MU football player gives back at Special Olympics Missouri State Summer Games

May 24, 2022

A photo of Melissa Wirt, Alyssa Click and Jalani Williams in the parade of athletes.

(Left to right) Melissa Wirt and Alyssa Click, Special Olympics Missouri athletes, and Jalani Williams, MU football player and Special Olympics Missouri intern, in the opening ceremony.

Last weekend, Mizzou helped host the Special Olympics Missouri State Summer Games.

During the opening ceremony parade of athletes, MU football player Jalani Williams escorted the St. Louis metro area competitors. He bonded with them over a shared passion for competition and will plan additional statewide events during his summer internship with the organization.

More than 1,000 athletes and coaches came to Columbia for a weekend of events ­– many held on campus. We are proud that our Tiger community came together to make these games a success. Mizzou last hosted in 2014.

Thanks to the many other volunteers and families of the athletes who make this event possible.

— Mun

Celebrating Staff Recognition Week (with BBQ)

May 20, 2022

A photo of President Choi serving at the staff recognition lunch.We are grateful to all of our MU and UM System employees and their many contributions to advance our teaching, research and engagement missions.

Throughout this week, we honored our collective commitment through our annual Staff Recognition Week. On Wednesday, several administrators served a free meal to about 1,300 of our employees.

As part of the celebration, we also distributed awards for outstanding service and hosted opportunities for staff to meet and build new connections.

— Mun

A poignant exhibit

May 17, 2022

A photo of the exhibit in the Reynolds Journalism Institute.I recently visited the photo exhibit at the Reynolds Journalism Institute that depicts Ukrainian life in the midst of war. This exhibit was curated by Irynka Hromotska (Kohut), a Fulbright Scholar and a graduate student in photojournalism from Ukraine.

The images show a people who are resilient, patriotic and fighting for dignity. It was a powerful and moving experience for me.

I encourage you to stop by and see it for yourself.

— Mun

Creating faculty connections

May 11, 2022

A photo of President Choi addressing new faculty reception attendees at the Residence on Francis Quadrangle.

President Choi addressing new faculty reception attendees at the Residence on Francis Quadrangle.

On Tuesday, we hosted a reception for the more than 400 new faculty who joined Mizzou in 2020 and 2021. Scholars from across campus met one another, shared their research and built new connections.

This reception is one of many events that celebrate faculty accomplishments and promote new interdisciplinary partnerships.

Later this week, we’ll recognize recipients of the National Institutes of Health T32 grant – which helps recruit predoctoral and postdoctoral students to address significant health-related needs. Faculty interested in the grant are welcome to attend and learn more about the process from current recipients and staff with MU’s Division of Research, Innovation and Impact.

By working together, we can discover even more ways faculty can connect and collaborate.

— Mun

From Cape Town to Columbia

May 10, 2022

A photo of the University of the Western Cape delegation visiting the Roy Blunt NextGen Precision Health building.

Left to right: Dr. Thabile Sokupa (UWC), Dr. Richard Barohn, Dr. Gillian Bartlett, Dr. Jose Franz (UWC), Althea George (UWC) and Dr. Mary Stegmaier at the Roy Blunt NextGen Precision Health building.

Last week, we hosted a delegation from the University of the Western Cape (UWC) – our longtime partner university located near Cape Town, South Africa. I visited UWC in 2019, and I’m glad that we could return the favor.

As part of the University of Missouri South African Education Program, a group of administrators from the UWC Office of Research and Innovation toured Mizzou, as well as UMSL and UMKC. While in Columbia, they met with faculty from across campus and at the Roy Blunt NextGen Precision Health building. We discussed how to cooperate on precision medicine research and other opportunities to improve our communities.

The UM System’s connection to UWC goes back more than 30 years. It began as an effort to support South Africans disadvantaged by their then-government’s apartheid policies. Though much has changed, this program continues to produce valuable opportunities for exchange and collaboration.

— Mun

Honoring our ROTC legacy

May 6, 2022

A photo of President Choi attending Pass in Review on Stankowski Field.

2022 Joint Services Pass in Review on Stankowski Field.

On Friday, I participated in the Joint Services Pass in Review – one of our oldest Mizzou traditions. For more than 150 years, the university’s ROTC units have publicly demonstrated their training and readiness. It was an honor to see them parade on Stankowski Field and to celebrate their accomplishments.

A photo of a plaque dedicated to General Gordon.

A dedicatory plaque inside the John A. Gordon Albuquerque Complex, a new National Nuclear Security Administration facility.

A great example of MU’s ROTC legacy is the late Gen. John A. Gordon, an Air Force ROTC cadet and a 1968 physics graduate. He went on to become the first Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).

Last month, the Department of Energy opened its new state-of-the-art NNSA facility in Albuquerque and named it after him. You can also find his name on our wall of notable alumni in Jesse Hall. Recently, I met Gen. Gordon’s wife, Marilyn, who remains a committed member of the Mizzou family.

We are grateful to our ROTC cadets and midshipmen for their continued example of true service.

— Mun

Engaging Mizzou’s global community

May 5, 2022

A photo of President Choi at the celebration with members of the campus community.Sulaiman Assadullah, a Fulbright Scholar and master’s student in our Truman School of Public Affairs, invited me to attend an Eid al-Fitr celebration with members of the Afghan student and scholars group.

Fellow students and scholars from Nigeria, Ukraine, Lithuania, India, Pakistan, Azerbaijan and Macedonia joined us to experience this tradition and learn more about Afghan culture.

Sulaiman is such an impressive student who embodies the excellence of our Tigers. I very much appreciated his invitation.

— Mun

Bestselling historian gives Kinder Distinguished Lecture

May 4, 2022

A photo of Andrew Roberts at the Residence.

Andrew Roberts at the Residence.

On Tuesday, we welcomed Andrew Roberts, a world-renowned historian, to Mizzou. Dr. Roberts delivered the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy’s Distinguished Lecture – discussing his new book, “The Last King of America: The Misunderstood Reign of George III.”

Before the lecture, the Kinder Institute’s founders, Nancy and Rich Kinder, and I met with Dr. Roberts (and nearly 40 other supporters) at the Residence on Francis Quadrangle. Dr. Roberts was delighted to learn that 120 years ago Mark Twain also stopped by the Residence before an event to receive his honorary degree.

The Kinder Institute, created in 2015, is a community of scholars who are unpacking the complex history of constitutional democracy in the U.S. and around the globe. This event was a great show of their collective inquiry in action.

— Mun