President Choi’s Blog

Here’s to our graduates!

A photo of a graduate's silhouette with Jesse Hall in the background.

Tomorrow, we begin our fall 2021 commencement ceremonies. I want to personally congratulate our more than 1,700 students who will receive nearly 2,000 degrees from schools and colleges across campus.

These students have already overcome so many challenges and shown true Tiger spirit and determination. I can’t wait to see how they bring our Mizzou values of Respect, Responsibility, Discover and Excellence to everything they accomplish.


— Mun

Tiger leadership

A photo of President Choi speaking to students at the Chancellor's Leadership Class poster presentations.
President Choi speaks to students at the Chancellor’s Leadership Class poster presentations.

I stopped in to see the final poster presentations from the students in our Chancellor’s Leadership Class. Our Novak Leadership Institute runs this course for first-year students and uses practical, proven strategies to help them develop people skills and build confidence.

Students designed their team project to promote topics and resources that are important to the Mizzou community, such as Tiger Pantry, Homecoming and sustainability. Our students showed how they are using what they’ve learned to become better communicators and leaders.

I can’t wait to see what these students accomplish next.

— Mun

Tyler Badie named Scholar-Athlete of the Year

A photo of an digital screen announcing Tyler Badie is SEC Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Congratulations to Tiger running back Tyler Badie, who was voted SEC Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the league’s head coaches.

Tyler demonstrates the excellence of our student-athletes. Not only is he one of the best running backs in the country, he’s also a highly respected graduate student in our Department of Educational, School & Counseling Psychology.

I’m so proud of Tyler for his academic and athletic accomplishments! He’s a true Tiger! I look forward to seeing all of Mizzou Football in action again when they take on Army West Point for the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl on December 22.

— Mun

Moving precision health forward

A photo of Dr. Mahesh Thakkar and Giovanna Guidoboni.

It’s been almost two months since the grand opening of the Roy Blunt NextGen Precision Health building, and it’s already serving as a hub for cross-disciplinary innovation. One important way we facilitate these connections is by inviting our NextGen researchers to publicly share their work with colleagues and our community.

At 4 p.m. today, Dr. Mahesh Thakkar, director of research for the Department of Neurology in the MU School of Medicine, will discuss how sleep can affect people recovering from PTSD. At noon tomorrow, we’ll host our latest NextGen Discovery Series talk with Giovanna Guidoboni, associate dean for research in the MU College of Engineering, who will share how engineers are helping to drive new precision health innovations.

These public, livestreamed talks are designed for multidisciplinary audiences and help us identify new collaborative opportunities. Building these interdisciplinary relationships are at the core of NextGen, and central to MizzouForward — our transformative, $1.5 billion investment in Mizzou’s continued research excellence.

— Mun

Columbia’s new airport terminal takes off

A photo of President Choi and Mayor Treece signing a steel beam.
Columbia Mayor Brian Treece and President Choi signed a steel beam for the new Columbia Regional Airport terminal (photo courtesy of the City of Columbia).

Columbia hit another milestone of progress today when several mid-Missouri regional leaders and I signed the final steel beam being placed at Columbia’s Regional Airport’s new terminal.

When finished next summer, COU’s expansion will accommodate more passengers and set a new tone for our region.  And it could not come at a better time as MU recruits more research faculty and continues to form new industry partnerships through our NextGen Precision Health initiative.

Mizzou has a strong partnership with the City of Columbia, and I was honored to represent all Tigers at this historic event.

— Mun

Building a championship culture

A photo of President Choi at the groundbreaking of the Stephens Indoor Facility.
President Choi speaking at the groundbreaking of the Stephens Indoor Facility (photo courtesy of Hunter Dyke, Mizzou Athletics).

At Mizzou, we continue to surpass a “business as usual” mentality. Today we broke ground on the Stephens Indoor Facility, a state-of-the-art 86,400-square-foot hub for athletic excellence.

This training center is adjacent to our South End Zone Facility and will be the new indoor home for Mizzou Football — opening more space for all of our student-athletes.

A rendering of the Stephens Indoor Facility.
Rendering of the facility.

The building is named after Brad and Rachel Stephens, both Mizzou alumni and longtime supporters of our university. Working together with partners like Brad and Rachel, we continue to demonstrate Mizzou’s commitment to compete for championships in the SEC.

This investment is just the latest of many we are making in the people and potential of our Tiger community.


— Mun

Creating a welcoming campus

A photo of Judy Heumann.
Judy Heumann

This afternoon, author and civil rights activist Judy Heumann will meet with our community from 2-3 p.m. for a free virtual event and discussion. Heumann is a nationally recognized advocate for the rights of people with disabilities, subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary and author of a recently published memoir.

Co-hosted by more than 10 Mizzou partners — including schools and colleges, as well as student organizations — this event shows that building a welcoming campus (and world) is a responsibility we undertake together. By listening and sharing experiences from across our community, we can ensure that everyone knows they have a place at Mizzou and can receive the support they need to achieve excellence.

I hope you’ll be able to attend.

— Mun

Celebrating our alumni and faculty

A photo collage of Faculty Alumni Award recipients
2021 Faculty Alumni Award recipients. Top row (left to right): Lowell Mohler, Mary Beth Marrs, William Baker, Mary Sue Beck. Center: Botswana Toney Blackburn, John Walter Clark, D Cornelison, Cooper Drury. Bottom: Alexander Garza, Sandra Whayne Gautt, Noah Heringman, Yong Volz.

This afternoon, I’ll join the Mizzou Alumni Association in honoring incredible members of the university community with our annual Faculty Alumni Awards.

Since 1968, these awards have allowed us to highlight exceptional individuals and their distinguished contributions to Mizzou’s education, research and outreach missions. This year, we’re proud to recognize 12 Tigers (six faculty and six alumni) who exemplify the Mizzou spirit and elevate this university with their dedication, talent, perseverance and support.

Their contributions to our flagship institution, to our scholars, to the citizens of Missouri and the world, are an inspiration. I want to thank them for their service to the University of Missouri and congratulate them on this well-deserved award.

— Mun

Honoring our Mizzou veterans

A photo of Memorial Union with an American flag.

I hope you’ll join me for our Veterans Day wreath laying ceremony tomorrow (Thursday, Nov. 11) from 12:30-2 p.m. under the Memorial Union archway.

Every year, our community gathers on this day to honor the sacrifice and dedication of our many student-veterans. This fall, we will also shoot a group photo to show our support.

Mizzou is committed to our military students and their families. Our MU Veterans Center offers support and camaraderie, while our MU Veterans Clinic provides free legal services to veterans at MU and throughout the local community. We were also honored to be recently designated by the Military Times as a school Best for Vets.

Please come show your support.

— Mun

Transforming rural health care

A photo of President Choi speaking at the BioSTL Rural Health Synmposium.
President Choi speaking at the BioSTL Rural Health Symposium.

This week, I had the opportunity to speak at the BioSTL Rural Health Symposium and accept the invitation to be one of the founding partners of the Center for Rural Health Innovation.

This new statewide partnership is yet another way we’re collaborating to solve problems facing our approximately 2 million rural residents.

Mizzou has people and programs — such as our Springfield Clinical Campus and Extension offices — that share our research, education and outreach missions with every Missouri county and metro area. Other initiatives such as MizzouForward and NextGen Precision Health will help us offer even more lifesaving advances to communities that may be hours away from the nearest hospital.

By working together on these lifesaving solutions, we fulfill our land-grant mission and improve the health and wellbeing of our citizens, no matter where they live.

— Mun