President Choi’s Blog

Celebrating our new student leaders

(Left to right) President Choi, Clay Van Eaton, Emily Brockmann, Maggie Funston, Miyah Jones, Cydney Perkins, Danny Daugherty and Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Angela King Taylor
(Left to right) President Choi, Clay Van Eaton, Emily Brockmann, Maggie Funston, Miyah Jones, Cydney Perkins, Danny Daugherty and Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Angela King Taylor

I joined more than 100 students, faculty and staff to celebrate the inauguration of three newly elected leaders of Mizzou’s undergraduate student government, the Missouri Students Association (MSA). Congratulations to President Clay Van Eaton, Vice President Emily Brockmann and Speaker of the Senate Maggie Funston. I also want to thank outgoing President Miyah Jones, Vice President Cydney Perkins and Speaker Danny Daugherty, as well as all involved in MSA for their incredible contributions to our community.

I rely on MSA leaders for their valuable input and collaboration on issues affecting all of campus. We’ve partnered together on many important initiatives, such as enhancing student success, expanding opportunities for student emergency funding, increasing mental health support, and so much more.

MSA embodies the principles of our university and makes a lasting impact on Mizzou. I look forward to working with these new student leaders.

— Mun

Recognizing Sen. Blunt and supporting agriculture in the Bootheel

(Left to right) Dean Chris Daubert, Sen. Jason Bean, Executive Director Gary Wheeler, Sen. Roy Blunt, Director Chris Chinn, Curator Keith Holloway and President Mun Choi breaking ground on the new labratory.
(Left to right) Dean Daubert, Mo. Sen. Bean, Executive Director Wheeler, Sen. Blunt, Director Chinn, Curator Holloway and President Choi

Last Friday, I traveled to Mizzou’s Fisher Delta Research, Extension and Education Center (FD-REEC) in Portageville for the ceremonial groundbreaking of the Roy Blunt Soil Testing and Research Laboratory. We were honored that former U.S. Sen. Blunt joined us for the celebration, as well as numerous state and university leaders who were critical to developing this important facility. Also attending were Shelly and Stacey, the wife and daughter of Jake Fisher – the longtime superintendent and namesake of the center who passed away last year.

When completed, the Roy Blunt Soil Testing and Research Laboratory will cover more than 6,000 square feet. Its advanced resources will combine the latest testing technology with science-based recommendations to positively impact Missouri agriculture. The services offered are unique and currently unavailable in the Bootheel region.

Sen. Roy Blunt speaking at a podium
Sen. Blunt

I want to recognize Sen. Blunt and his incredible commitment to Missouri farmers. I’m also grateful for our many additional supporters, including Mo. Department of Agriculture Director Chris Chinn, Mo. Sen. Jason Bean, former Mo. Rep. Don Rone, Curator Keith Holloway, CEO and Executive Director for the Missouri Soybean Association Gary Wheeler, CAFNR Vice Chancellor and Dean Chris Daubert, Vice Chancellor for Extension and Engagement Chad Higgins and FD-REEC Advisory Board Chair Trent Haggard. Thanks also to the Delta Regional Authority, the Bootheel Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission, Robert Cook and Laura Collins with the Southeast Missouri Regional Water District and the FD-REEC Advisory Board, as well as the center’s dedicated staff. 

We are thrilled to bring this incredible resource to the Bootheel. We’re also pleased to honor Sen. Blunt’s enduring advocacy for science and agriculture in our state.

— Mun

Model Tigers at the United Nations

(Front row, left to right) Carly Gordon, Trey Trapani, Antonio Contreras, Makayla Mayhew, Aidan Pittman, Diyora Rakhmonova, Jaden Reed 
(Back row, left to right) John “Tommy” Jackson, Maggie Funston, Matt Jackson, Lucas Warren, Jalen Frazier, Gwen Blevins, Amelie Vogt
(Front row, left to right) Carly Gordon, Trey Trapani, Antonio Contreras, Makayla Mayhew, Aidan Pittman, Diyora Rakhmonova, Jaden Reed 
(Back row, left to right) John “Tommy” Jackson, Maggie Funston, Matt Jackson, Lucas Warren, Jalen Frazier, Gwen Blevins, Amelie Vogt 

Mizzou Model UN made quite an impact at the 2024 National Model UN Conference in New York City. Our students were recognized as an Outstanding Delegation – the conference’s highest honor.

The 14 Mizzou team members prepared for about three months to effectively represent their assigned country, Namibia. The weeklong conference included schools from around the world and ended at the General Assembly building of the United Nations.

Congratulations to all our participants, including Mizzou Model UN President Maggie Funston and Head Delegates Gwen Blevins and Trey Trapani. I also want to recognize Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor Bill Horner for his support of the delegation.

Mizzou prepares students to lead our state, country – and even the United Nations. We’re so proud of the team’s accomplishments.

— Mun

Emmy-winning journalist visits MU community, honors Holocaust Remembrance Month

Amy Simons, Howard Reich and President Choi
(Left to right) Amy Simons, Howard Reich and President Choi

Congregation Beth Shalom, Mizzou Hillel and the Missouri School of Journalism recently welcomed Emmy-winning filmmaker, author and journalist Howard Reich for two days of events on and off campus.

Mr. Reich has written six books and produced three documentaries on issues related to the Holocaust, as well as arts and music. He was also a jazz critic at the Chicago Tribune for more than 40 years. Mr. Reich met with Mizzou journalism students and was the main speaker at several gatherings held in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Month.

Amy Simons and Howard Reich during the discussion

On Wednesday, I attended his talk at Congregation Beth Shalom. The conversation was moderated by MU Professor of Journalism Amy Simons. Mr. Reich discussed his books investigating the Holocaust’s impact on his family and the life of his friend, Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel. On Thursday, Mr. Reich participated in a screening of his documentary “Prisoner of Her Past,” based on his mother’s experience surviving the Holocaust.

I am grateful to Professor Simons for helping organize these events and to Mr. Reich for sharing his important work with our community.

— Mun

Cultural exchange with the Islamic Center of Central Missouri

Dr. Semi Necibi serving guests at the iftar dinner.
Dr. Necibi serving guests at the iftar dinner.

I was pleased to join members of the Islamic Center of Central Missouri (ICCM) for an iftar meal, marking the end of the daily fast during Ramadan. I was the guest of Dr. Semi Necibi, the ICCM Shura Council Chairman.

The Islamic Center of Central Missouri at dusk.

The ICCM was established in 1983 and is a place of worship, cultural exchange and education for our community. I enjoyed this opportunity to share a meal and learn more about their traditions.

I want to thank Dr. Necibi and the ICCM for the invitation and for their service to others.

— Mun

Awarding excellence in shared governance

President Choi, Director of Orthopaedic Biostatistics Dr. Emily Leary, Faculty Council Chair Tom Warhover
(Left to right) President Choi, Director of Orthopaedic Biostatistics Dr. Emily Leary, Faculty Council Chair Tom Warhover

I joined more than 110 colleagues for the spring General Faculty Meeting and shared an update on MU’s incredible momentum, including our record number of applicants and all-time high retention and graduation rates. Interim Provost Matt Martens provided an exciting MizzouForward update and partners from Ayers Saint Gross presented the latest information on our campus master plan. I appreciated hearing from faculty and the opportunity for open and candid conversations.

To conclude the meeting, MU Faculty Council announced the 2023-24 Shared Governance Awards. These recognitions honor individuals and groups who demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to supporting the voice of faculty.

President Choi, Vice Chancellor for Extension and Engagement Chad Higgins, Regional Field Specialist in Agronomy Todd Lorenz and Faculty Council Chair Tom Warhover
(Left to right) President Choi, Vice Chancellor for Extension and Engagement Chad Higgins, Regional Field Specialist in Agronomy Todd Lorenz and Faculty Council Chair Tom Warhover

This year’s individual winner was Emily Leary, assistant professor and director of biostatistics in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Dr. Leary was recognized for raising the visibility of Faculty Affairs Council within the School of Medicine, among many other accomplishments. The group winner was MU Extension Faculty for their work to include Extension field faculty as full members in Faculty Council. Todd Lorenz, a regional field specialist in agronomy and a leading advocate for the change, accepted the award on the group’s behalf.

Shared governance is critical to the future of Mizzou and to the success of our land-grant mission. I’m proud to collaborate with faculty to achieve excellence in research, teaching and meaningful engagement that serves our students, Missouri and the world.

— Mun

Mizzou victorious at ‘College Chess Final Four’

(Left to right) Coach Cristian Chirila, Mikhail Antipov, Grigory Oparin, Luka Budisavljević and Harshit Raja (photo courtesy of UT Dallas).

Mizzou Chess earned top honors at the President’s Cup, known as the College Chess Final Four, adding another prestigious win to their record.

This is Mizzou’s second consecutive trip to the tournament. The competition was hosted by the University of Texas at Dallas, and MU competed against players from UT Dallas, UT Rio Grande Valley and Webster University. I’m proud our Tigers could end their successful season with a great victory.

Congratulations to team members Mikhail Antipov, Grigory Oparin, Luka Budisavljević and Harshit Raja, as well as Head Coach & Program Director Cristian Chirila. I also want to acknowledge Curator Jeanne Cairns Sinquefield and Rex Sinquefield for their incredible commitment to the MU Chess Team.

We’ve secured our spot as the best chess program in the country.

— Mun

Marching Mizzou wins ‘Best Overall Band’ in Dublin St. Patrick’s Day parade

Marching Mizzou during the 2024 St. Patrick’s Festival Parade (Photo credit: Sam Mohler).

Around 300 members of Marching Mizzou just returned from Dublin, Ireland where they won “Best Overall Band” at the 2024 St. Patrick’s Festival Parade. Marching Mizzou was chosen over 13 other participating bands.

During the two-hour parade, they performed for nearly 500,000 attendees and the many viewers who watched from around the world. Before Dublin, Marching Mizzou traveled to the town of Tipperary, where they marched in the local parade and celebrated our unique connection with the community. Mizzou’s fight song “Every True Son” is based on the classic tune to “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary.” There were also opportunities for students to visit historic sites around the country thanks to a collaboration with Mizzou Study Abroad.

(Photo credit: Sam Mohler)

Congratulations to Marching Mizzou on their accomplishment! I also want to recognize Director of Athletic Bands (and new William T. Kemper Fellow for Teaching Excellence) Amy M. Knopps, School of Music Director Jared Rawlings and College of Arts and Science Dean Cooper Drury for their support of our students.

Whether they’re performing in Memorial Stadium, New York City or internationally – Marching Mizzou makes us all proud to be Tigers.

— Mun

A central location for student health 

Last week, we celebrated a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Student Health Center in Pershing Hall. Just steps from MizzouRec, its convenient location makes it easy for students to access medical treatment and find caring support for their physical and mental health. The new center opens on March 27

The expanded facility is more than 16,500 square feet, including 41% more exam room space than before. The layout is specifically designed for efficient collaboration between providers and nurses – enhancing the quality of care. A dedicated team of nearly 45 professionals is ready to use the space’s unique resources to serve our community. 

MU’s Student Health Center prioritizes access. Nearly all students receive an appointment the same day or the next day. Patient account representatives are available on-site, and our 24/7 nurse line (573-882-7481) is always there to help students whenever they need it. 

We are grateful to MU Health Care for their collaboration on this project. I also want to thank Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Angela King Taylor, Executive Director of Student Health and Well-Being Jamie Shutter and Director of the Student Health Center Jim Parker for their leadership.

This incredible facility is an investment in the health and well-being of all students. 

— Mun

Mizzou Chess champions

Earlier this year, the University of Missouri Chess Team achieved an impressive victory at the 2024 Pan-American Intercollegiate Championship. It was Mizzou’s first time winning this major tournament, which is considered the most prestigious collegiate chess event in the Americas. 

To celebrate their incredible accomplishment, the team visited the Missouri Capitol and Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe to have their success formally recognized. They were joined by dedicated Mizzou Chess supporters, Curator Jeanne Cairns Sinquefield and Rex Sinquefield. 

In the Senate chamber, Lt. Gov. Kehoe and Sen. Caleb Rowden commended the team and their outstanding representation of our state. Back on campus, they were also recognized at a Board of Curators meeting and during a Men’s Basketball game in Mizzou Arena. 

Congratulations again to Coach Cristian Chirila and the Chess Team! Later this month, they head to the Dallas area for the 2024 President’s Cup Final Four of Chess tournament. I know our Tigers can win another historic championship in Texas.

Best of luck to the team. M-I-Z!

— Mun