President Choi's Blog, Page 3

Study Abroad offers global perspectives

A photo of President Choi and John Middleton, associate vice president for Academic Affairs, with staff from Study Abroad and International Programs.
President Choi, John Middleton (associate vice president for academic affairs) and Mary Stegmaier (vice provost for international programs) with staff from Study Abroad and International Programs.

One out of every five Mizzou undergraduates studies abroad. For the 2022-23 academic year and summer term, around 1,100 Tigers will venture to more than 40 countries across the globe. Managing this complex operation is the well-traveled Mizzou Study Abroad team.

Miguel Ayllon, executive director of international partnerships and study abroad, shared a tour of their recently updated space in Memorial Union. He also introduced me to many of the eleven full-time staff members.

Mizzou Study Abroad matches students with programs that fit their goals. In alignment with the U.S. Department of State, they also provide 24/7 health, safety and security assistance to program participants. Their office is full of flags and artwork showing the connection between our university and those in the U.K., Kyrgyzstan, Belgium, South Korea and South Africa, among many others.

Study Abroad prepares students for a global workforce and helps share Mizzou with the world.

— Mun

Wrestling wins Big 12 title, heads to NCAA tournament

A photo of Mizzou sophomore Rocky Elam on the podium.
Mizzou sophomore Rocky Elam on the podium.

Mizzou Wrestling earned their twelfth-straight conference title at the Big 12 tournament in Tulsa. One of many highlights was Rocky Elam, who won the conference championship at 197 pounds after a tiebreaker. All ten Tigers finished on the podium.

With their victory, head coach Brian Smith now has the most league titles in Mizzou Athletics history – surpassing Norm Stewart. He was also named Big 12 Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season.

On March 16, the entire team will be back in Tulsa for the NCAA tournament – the same day Men’s Basketball begins March Madness in Sacramento. Good luck to all our student-athletes.

— Mun

MizzouThon raises more than $122K

A photo of President Choi with the Luebbering family and members of MizzouThon’s executive board.
President Choi with the Luebbering family (in green) and members of MizzouThon’s executive board (in pink).

Last weekend, I stopped by MizzouThon’s Main Event – a 13.1-hour celebration in support of MU Health Care’s Children’s Hospital and the families they serve. More than 350 people attended throughout the day. Around 1 a.m., they announced their total yearly fundraising surpassed $122,000.

At the event, I met Nathan and Renee Luebbering and their daughter, Cassidy-Rae. The Luebberings are one of 12 Miracle Families who partner with MizzouThon year-round. They were grateful for our students’ support, which helps Cassidy-Rae access music therapy and specialized equipment.

MizzouThon is the university’s largest student-run philanthropy and has raised more than $2.25M since its founding in 2008. I want to thank all who helped, especially the 65 members of MizzouThon’s leadership team, including President Nicole Lawson, Vice Presidents Lauren Huff, Jordan Efken, Izzy Goldman, Teresa Voss, Riley Gearhart and Erin Quaid, as well as their MU Health Care advisor, Megan Freese.

I’m grateful for all who organized and participated in this Mizzou tradition.

— Mun

Mizzou Giving Day starts tomorrow

An illustration for Mizzou Giving Day: March 8-9.Join thousands of fellow Tigers in making a difference on Mizzou Giving Day.

This 24-hour campaign starts at noon on March 8 and wraps up the following day. Give back to what you love most about Mizzou, and check out the many programs you can support for as little as $5. Any level of participation is appreciated.

You can also double your impact with matched gifts for your favorite initiative or sign up as a Giving Day Ambassador to earn exclusive rewards.

Visit for all the ways you can support our community. M-I-Z!

— Mun

Launching incredible careers

A photo of John Middleton, Craig Benson, President Choi, Ashtin Holman and Ashley Eldridge in the Career Center.
(Left to right) John Middleton (associate vice president for academic affairs), Craig Benson (Career Center interim director), President Choi, Ashtin Holman and Ashley Eldridge.

The Career Center helps put our students on the path to long-term success. The center’s dedicated staff and more than 40 student workers help with many stages of the process, including mock interviews, resume feedback and career consultations. This year, they’re on track to serve nearly 4,000 students in the center and many more through campus presentations, classes and online resources.

Last week, I toured their facilities in the Student Success Center, which include spaces for drop-in visits and scheduled appointments. At the front desk, I met Ashtin Holman, a junior international business major from Kansas City, and Ashley Eldridge, a freshman accountancy major from St. Joseph, Ill. Ashtin has worked at the center since 2020 and was training Ashley. It was great to see Ashtin, Ashley and so many Tigers helping our community.

To better serve students, the Career Center continues to expand by hiring additional career coaches as well as an employer relations coordinator. Their goal is to collaborate even more with academic units and industry partners to ensure that our students preparing to graduate find high-impact careers.

The results speak for themselves: 95.4% of our undergrads have successful outcomes six months after graduating.

— Mun

Hosting the Hawthorn Foundation

A photo of President Choi presenting to the Hawthorn Foundation.

Last week, we welcomed Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe and leaders from around the state for a meeting of the Hawthorn Foundation Board. After gathering in the Walsworth Family Columns Club in Memorial Stadium, we also offered tours of the Roy Blunt NextGen Precision Health building.

We shared Mizzou’s impact, recent record successes, as well as our vision to do even more with the University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR).

I described how investing in MURR – including building a new research reactor – will ensure a safe, domestic supply of radioisotopes while expanding our capacity to discover new treatments. Already, our reactor is the only supplier in the U.S. of four critical radioisotopes used by cancer and cardiac patients. The work to bring a second, larger reactor to MU takes our entire community, including partnerships with elected officials and important stakeholders like Hawthorn Foundation members and supporters.

I appreciated the opportunity to share a bold path forward for our university and state.

— Mun

Chancellor’s Arts Showcase

A photo of (Left to right) Stefan Freund, Julia Gaines, Cooper Drury, Jeanne Sinquefield, morima, Yoshiaki Onishi, Andrea Luque Káram and President Choi in the Missouri Theatre.
(Left to right) Stefan Freund (artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative), Julia Gaines (director of the School of Music), Cooper Drury (dean of the College of Arts & Science), Jeanne Sinquefield, morima, Yoshiaki Onishi (co-director of the Mizzou New Music Ensemble), Andrea Luque Káram (managing director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative) and President Choi.

Since 1977, the Chancellor’s Arts Showcase has celebrated creative excellence across Mizzou.

This year’s showcase featured the work of more than 100 students, faculty and alumni. We celebrated the winner of the Sinquefield Composition Prize, morima. Their work, “toy piano concerto,” received its premiere performance by the University Philharmonic Orchestra. Jeanne Sinquefield, namesake of the award and great supporter of Mizzou music, highlighted the winner onstage.

This showcase is one of many recognitions for our creative community. Additionally, 14 theater students recently received awards and commendations at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. A Textile & Apparel Management-Champion student collaboration was also represented at New York Fashion Week.

It was inspiring to gather in the historic Missouri Theatre and applaud their accomplishments.

— Mun

Pancakes for Roger

A photo of people getting pancakes at the Pancakes for Roger event in the Reynolds Alumni Center on MU's campus.
The pancake bar at Pancakes for Roger in the Reynolds Alumni Center.

Major General Roger E. Combs was a Mizzou alum and veteran of the Marines, Army and Air Force. He served more than 39 years and died in 2018 from complications of Agent Orange-exposure during his service.

To honor a simple request made near the end of his life, his daughter Susan, a Mizzou alum and founder of Combs & Company, launched Pancakes for Roger. This global event encourages people to tag their #PancakesForRoger photos. For every photo tagged, Combs & Company donates to the MU School of Law Veterans Clinic.

A photo of Savana Seyer, a second-year law student who volunteered at Pancakes for Roger.
Savanah Seyer, second-year law student.

Nearly 100 people attended and donated to MU’s pancake breakfast. Helping staff the welcome table was Savanah Seyer, a second-year law student from Cape Girardeau. Savanah also works at the clinic helping veterans – at no cost – with discharge upgrades and disability compensation claims. She said her best friend is a Marine Corps veteran, and she enjoys helping the state’s military community.

Throughout February, there have been more than 500 #PancakesForRoger participants in every continent (including Antarctica), all 50 states and 22 countries – with even more anticipated. Last year’s donations exceeded $5,000, and they are on track to surpass that in 2023.

You can still participate through the end of the month.

— Mun

Collaborating with Extension

A photo of President Choi speaking with MU Extension faculty and staff.

Specialists with MU Extension are active in each of Missouri’s 114 counties and St. Louis.

There’s deep appreciation in communities – and from state legislators – for the work they do in critical areas such as agriculture, rural health, rural broadband, 4-H and community development.

The state recently acknowledged that impact with an additional $5M investment in Extension. Their support is helping us increase personnel around Missouri in specialties like agronomy and livestock toxicology while also starting new construction projects.

I enjoyed the opportunity to give a campus update to a standing-room-only crowd of Extension faculty and staff, along with hundreds who attended remotely. I also asked for input on the qualities and experience they’d like to see in our next vice chancellor for extension and engagement and welcomed the candid conversation.

Mizzou has a land-grant mission to share our research, teaching and engagement with Missourians. MU Extension is a critical part of that work.

— Mun

You’re invited to MU’s 2023 Black History Month keynote

A photo of Her Excellency Michelle Ndiaye.

Her Excellency Michelle Ndiaye

On Feb. 28, we welcome to campus Her Excellency Michelle Ndiaye, special representative of the chairperson of the African Union. She is also the head of the African Union Liaison Office in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the granddaughter of Léopold Sédar Senghor, a founder of the Negritude Movement and the first President of Senegal.

She will deliver our 2023 Distinguished Black History Month Keynote Lecture, “Africa in the Global Landscape: Democracy, Food Security and the Role of the Youth.” Before her lecture, she will host a lunchtime Q&A with students to discuss her life experiences and wide-ranging expertise in democratic and local governance as well as sustainable development.

Her presentation is the culmination of our campuswide celebration of Black History Month that has included speakers, student artwork and community events. The free lecture begins at 6:30 p.m. in Monsanto Auditorium.

— Mun