President Choi's Blog, Page 3
Welcoming Mizzou’s KC Scholars
Oct. 10, 2023
I joined UM Board of Curators Chair Michael Williams and Vice Chancellor for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (IDE) Maurice Gipson to welcome 48 new and returning KC Scholars to campus, along with KC Scholars Chief Operating Officer Natalie Lewis.
KC Scholars helps outstanding, Pell-eligible students from the Kansas City area attend college and receive the support they need to reach their goals. In 2018, the UM System committed to investing $30 million in the program, with a match of $30 million from KC Scholars. The outcome is impressive: KC Scholars at Mizzou have a 95% return rate, and last spring 73% were on the Dean’s List.
Achieving these strong results takes a team effort. I’d like to thank Center for Academic Success & Excellence (CASE) Director Dr. E. Andre Thorn, as well as CASE student service coordinators Ana-Maria Fernandez, Leo Medal, LeAnn Stroupe and Edwin Davis for supporting our KC Scholars. I’m also grateful to Susan Hartnagel and Cynthia Travis from Student Financial Aid and IDE Assistant Vice Chancellor for Inclusive Engagement Erika Aaron for their dedication to student success.
Applauding excellence in teaching
Oct. 5, 2023
Today is World Teachers’ Day, and I’m proud to recognize Mizzou’s incredible faculty and their commitment to our students and state.
One of the many ways we honor their dedication is through awards for faculty accomplishments in the classroom. Our highest campus-level teaching award is the William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence. Applications are open now and include input from students and the MU community. Other opportunities include the Governor’s Award of Excellence in Teaching, the Maxine Christopher Shutz Award and Lecture for Distinguished Teaching and the Provost’s Outstanding Junior Faculty Teaching Award.
Starting this week, faculty also can nominate their colleagues for UM System honors for teaching and research, such as Curators’ Distinguished Professorships, the Thomas Jefferson Award and the C. Brice Ratchford Memorial Fellowship.
These awards celebrate our incredible faculty as they change the world and prepare the next generation of leaders. We’re pleased to show our appreciation today and throughout the year.
Breaking ground on MURR’s future
Oct. 3, 2023
Yesterday was an important milestone for the University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR). Elected officials, curators, community leaders and university staff and faculty gathered for the ceremonial groundbreaking of MURR West, which will add expanded production, laboratory and collaborative research space to the original reactor. The event included a video message from U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, who shared his strong support for our lifesaving work, as well as remarks from Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, UM Board of Curators Chair Michael Williams and MURR Executive Director Matt Sanford.
MURR is the world’s most important university research reactor for fighting cancer, and each year 1.6 million patients benefit from the medical isotopes we produce. Where other healthcare providers expect patients to travel to receive world-class care, MU’s central location means we can quickly send medical isotopes to those who need them most.
When completed, the 47,000-square-foot addition will be the latest chapter in MURR’s more than 50-year legacy of safety and excellence. Looking ahead, our ambitious plans include NextGen MURR, a new state-of-the-art reactor that will complement our existing facility and improve life for Missourians, and those across the country and world.
We are thankful for the incredible support of elected officials and the entire Mizzou community as we grow our status as an innovative hub for nuclear medicine.
Kicking off our 2023 United Way Campaign
Sept. 29, 2023
Yesterday, I was part of the kick-off event for our annual United Way campaign. Leaders from across campus joined our partners from Heart of Missouri United Way and Leadership Circle donors at the Stephens Indoor Facility to celebrate our impact and encourage others to support the campaign.
We’ve collaborated with Heart of Missouri United Way for more than 75 years, and these campaigns help give back to some of the most vulnerable in our area. Last year we raised more than $436,000, and I know we can reach this year’s ambitious goal of $460,000. Your support will be put to good use because 99 cents of every dollar donated stays in Missouri.
Mizzou and United Way share a mission of service and dedication to our community. It’s what makes our partnership so strong and their work so important. I hope you’ll join me in supporting this year’s campaign.
Sharing the impact of our Value Partnership
Sept. 21, 2023
I enjoyed participating in a panel discussion with other health care leaders at the Siemens Healthineers Value Partnership Forum. I described how our innovative collaboration, the Alliance for Precision Health, has benefited communities across Missouri. I also offered advice for organizations developing their own partnerships.
Launched in 2019, the Alliance is a ten-year initiative with Siemens Healthineers, the UM System and MU Health Care to give clinicians, researchers and students access to the latest medical technology – while bringing world-class resources to underserved parts of rural Missouri. We began with a focus on radiology and have quickly expanded to additional areas, including lab, cardiology and oncology.
Together, we’ve achieved remarkable results. For example:
- We helped pioneer the syngo Virtual Cockpit. This technology puts skilled imaging technicians within reach for more rural communities and provides remote scanning of organ donations, boosting the speed of lifesaving transplants.
- We collaborated on a new MRI protocol, Fast Abdomen, that reduces scan time by half while increasing image quality.
- We installed the MAGNETOM Terra 7-Tesla (7T) MRI in the Roy Blunt NextGen Precision Health building. The 7T makes Mizzou’s campus a hub for research clinicians who use its accuracy to create breakthrough treatments.
- We developed a training program to address the shortage of clinical engineers. Our faculty also work with Siemens Healthineers scientists on new research and our students have access to hands-on internships.
We’re eager to partner with Siemens Healthineers on even more ambitious projects, including opportunities to enhance the lifesaving work of the University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR) with our new, state-of-the-art research reactor, NextGen MURR. It was great to share our progress and discuss how we can grow our impact in Missouri and beyond.
Dedicating the Stephens Indoor Facility
Sept. 19, 2023
Last week, I attended our dedication ceremony for the Stephens Indoor Facility. Around 150 supporters were on hand to celebrate, including Brad and Rachel Stephens and their family.
This spectacular facility sends a strong message across Missouri and the nation: We’re building a championship culture here at Mizzou. Tigers past and present can be proud of what we’ve accomplished, and we’re already seeing the results.
I want to again recognize Brad and Rachel Stephens for their leadership. I’m also thankful to the University of Missouri Board of Curators and all who supported this facility, as well Athletic Director Reed-Francois, Coach Drinkwitz and our incredible student-athletes.
I can’t wait to see what we achieve next. M-I-Z!
The importance of Connection
Sept. 15, 2023
Every month during the academic year, the Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity and the Provost’s Office host Connection – a gathering that offers support and community to faculty from all backgrounds and phases of their academic careers. I attended the most recent event and enjoyed sharing our progress as a university and answering faculty questions.
Connection helps faculty members thrive and achieve their goals at Mizzou. Programs like Connection are one of many ways we support the success of our faculty and their outstanding contributions to our land-grant mission of teaching, research and service.
I’m grateful to IDE Vice Chancellor Maurice Gipson and Associate Provost for Faculty Success Candace Kuby for facilitating the session. I hope to attend again soon.
Mizzou Law honors a life of service
Sept. 12, 2023
More than 100 people gathered in Hulston Hall to dedicate a classroom in honor of Marcy Graham – a friend, mentor, benefactor, distinguished graduate of the MU School of Law and University of Missouri curator emeritus. At the end of the celebration, we also surprised Marcy with a Mizzou Football shirt in recognition of his time as a linebacker in high school.
Marcy was Board Chair when I began my appointment at the UM System, and he’s made an indelible impact on me and so many others. He is always generous with his time, especially for his many mentees, and lives life with purpose and integrity. I was proud to join others in honoring his contributions.
Marcy’s supporters contributed more than $100,000 to help renovate the classroom prior to the dedication. The modernized Maurice B. “Marcy” Graham Classroom will remind future law students that they too can make a difference.
I’m grateful for Marcy’s many years of service. I also want to thank his wife, Edna Mae, for sharing him with the University of Missouri community.
Celebrating Mizzou families
Sept. 8, 2023
Each member of our community plays an important role in supporting student success, including our dedicated Tiger families. We’re thrilled to show our appreciation and celebrate their impact during Mizzou’s annual Family Weekend.
Beginning today, there’s a full schedule of free events, starting with a noon Football Friday Spirit Rally at Traditions Plaza. Later this evening, families can stroll to Francis Quadrangle for Illumination on the Quad, or enjoy a free movie in Leadership Auditorium at the Student Center. Tomorrow, we encourage everyone to attend one of several Mizzou tailgates and fill the stands at Memorial Stadium as we take on the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders.
Throughout the weekend, families are also invited to explore Columbia and – most importantly – to connect with their students’ experiences on campus. I can’t wait to meet Tiger families and to share our incredible community.
Empowering strong communities in rural Missouri
Sept. 6, 2023
While in the Bootheel, I was pleased to attend the opening of an important new facility in Caruthersville. The New Day Recovery Center is a project of Divine Holiness Outreach Ministries (DHOM) and will offer housing and job training to individuals seeking recovery from drug and alcohol use. DHOM is a local partner for MU’s ParentLink – a unit of the College of Education & Human Development that is based in the Bootheel – and this new center offers an additional way to reach community members.
Over fifteen years, ParentLink has developed strong relationships in rural southeast Missouri. Partnering with trusted community organizations like DHOM helps more parents and caregivers access the no-cost assistance provided by ParentLink. A dedicated team of ParentLink navigators offers a range of services in Caruthersville and throughout the state by connecting parents to vetted resources that meet their needs, providing evidence-based information and helping them navigate barriers encountered along the way.
Many leading state officials attended the event, including Gov. Mike Parson. University of Missouri Board Chair Michael Williams, Curator Keith Holloway, Curator Robin Wenneker and General Counsel Mark Menghini were also present. Curator Holloway is from the region and is a dedicated supporter and donor to the center’s mission. Other MU representatives included Chad Higgins, interim vice chancellor for extension and engagement, Bradd Anderson, ParentLink director, and Freda Kershaw, ParentLink associate director, southeast Missouri.
It was great to be in the Bootheel and celebrate this vital effort.