– [Curator Greg Hoberock] Good morning.

– [Audience] Morning.

– [Curator Greg Hoberock] If I’m a little bit nervous today, would you bear with me? I don’t do very well at prepared speeches and I’ve never used a teleprompter before, so I will do the best I could.

– But anyway, thank you to my fellow curators, students, faculty, staff, alumni, anybody here that wants to support the University of Missouri. We thank you for joining us for today’s address.

– In March of 2017, Dr. Choi joined the university as a president of the system. In July of 2020, at various stages of the pandemic, the Board of Curators unanimously combined those positions and named Dr. Choi the MU chancellor.

– Today, we get the opportunity to hear from President Choi specifically in the context of Mizzou. Through his leadership over the five years, he has worked tirelessly to collaborate the flagship university internally with the four other campuses across this state to take forward our research enterprise and work collaboratively together.

– Collaboration within the flagship and the other universities has been important to our endeavor going forward.

– He has streamlined the common resources to ensure we remain good stewards of the resources we are given. He’s improved the relationship and restored the confidence of the legislature and the constituents of our state.

– And at Mizzou, President Choi is leading a reinvigoration of the research enterprise that has long been overdue.

– During his address, you’re going to hear about plans underway to ensure the growth and progress to develop the research and maintain our membership in the prestigious AAU.

– But first, you’re going to see a short video that shares some snapshots of just a handful of the incredible milestones and research breakthroughs at this institution.

– As an alum and a curator, this could make me more than proud, but for those of you who know me, you know that I am always looking for more.

– The responsibility of a public university is to meet the challenging needs of our citizens and the state. But we have to start from within.

– We have to make sure we are making smart investments in our faculty, in our staff and our students and the equipment we need on this campus.

– Now is a time for us to re-energize, to re-energize ourselves and to tighten in the focus and again, the importance of research and delivering to our reputation.

– Through MizzouForward, NextGen, and the ambition set before the university, there are so much more on the horizon here at Mizzou and it’s exciting.

– President Choi is going to share with you where Mizzou is as a university, and where it is going.

– On behalf of the Board of Curators, I would like to state our support for the plan going forward and to share our excitement and optimism about the future and forward directions we are moving together.

– We are going to roll a video and when it is done, it will be my honor to welcome President Mun Choi to the stage.


– [President Mun Y. Choi] Good morning, good morning, everyone. You know, the words of Richard Henry Jesse, 130 years ago transform this university.

– It became, at that point, a research university that was focused on achieving excellence and creating impact not only in the community, but the state, the nation and the world.

– And so much of his vision still resonates with all of us today. Those of us that work at the university, study at the university, and support the university.

– But as Curator Hoberock said, “We want more for Missouri.” We can’t rest on our laurels. We must continue to make investments so that we achieve the excellence that we serve.

– Today, I’m gonna be sharing with you, our boldest plan for investment. It’s called MizzouForward.

– As part of that plan, we’re gonna be making investments in people, ideas, and potential. And it’s really people that come to the center of this very important initiative because they create the impact that we all seek.

– Recently, we’ve seen a number of our people make an impact that receive national and international attention. Or some that just made an impact right here, close to home. So let me share some of these examples with you.

– Here, you see Professor Marcia Chatelain. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri, and she went on to get her PhD from Brown University. Now she is a professor at Georgetown University. She credits her mentors for inspiring her every step of the way to reach greater heights.

– And last year, the Pulitzer committee awarded her book, which is called “Franchise: Golden Arches in Black America.” The Pulitzer prize for history. We’re so proud of her accomplishments.

– She also credits the many activities beyond the classroom for leading to her success. For example, she was a volunteer. She was a tutor. She became a Truman scholar while she was at the University of Missouri.

– It’s what we call that experience, learning by doing. It’s called the Missouri method. And that impacts so many of our students throughout the university that came before her and that came after her. We’re so proud of that.

– Another example is Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova. She’s a business student and she’s also Grandmaster in chess. Last year, she competed in the national competition and came very close to finishing number one, but I’m confident that with the Mizzou education, she will finish number one.

– Her teammate is Grigory Oparin. Grigory Oparin right now is the number one collegiate chess player in the world.

– So in just three short years, the investment that we made as a university, as well as key donors that supported this program have brought about so much learning beyond the classroom and created a world class chess team. This is terrific for Missouri.

– Next up is Shelbie Mays. She is a senior studying psychology. She’s also a member of Kappa Delta. And she’s also a leader in MizzouThon.

– MizzouThon is the most important student-run charity that’s dedicated to helping children get healthcare that they need at MU Health Care. Now, the success of MizzouThon depends on volunteers from across the university.

– But the support from the sororities and fraternities and the excellent work that they do, it cannot go unnoticed. And with the launch and construction of the Children’s Tower at the university, we know that MizzouThon and volunteers like Shelbie, are gonna create the kind of impact that we’re gonna be so, so proud of here at the university.

– Next is Tyler Badie. You know, people say that athletics is the front porch of the university, and that is so true. And our front porch, we have scholar athletes like Tyler Badie.

– Last year, the SEC coaches selected Tyler as the conference scholar athlete of the year. This is the first time that a Mizzou athlete received this very important distinction, but I know it’s not gonna be the last time.

– He graduated, I mean, think about this, the hours and hours of preparation for the field on top of the rigorous coursework, he received a 3.8 GPA when he graduated. That’s incredible.

– And now he is a first year graduate student in our college of education and human development. But we have many more outstanding scholar athletes like Tyler Badie. And they are in your classroom and they bring so much pride to our university.

– Next up is another world class group. And our world class group is going to New York City this year. They’re gonna bring the sight and sound, yes, Marching Mizzou. Sights and sounds of the band, the twirlers, the color guard, golden girls, and the drum line.

– I see them practice so many days, even in the cold, there are consummate professionals and they bring us great pride. So if you can, Thanksgiving Day Parade, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, November of this year, please join us in New York City.

– Next, I wanna talk about the impact that we have in our research and engagement. And recently there have been a number of key headlines, national, international headlines about a pig’s kidney being transplanted into a human, and then a pig’s heart transplanted into a human.

– Incredible feats. But it could not have been accomplished without the contributions of Mizzou researchers. Professors Randall Prather and Professor Kevin Wells.

– In parallel, they developed what is called the Knockout Pig, where they created an organ of a pig that was genetically modified, so that it can be accepted into a human without rejection after the transplant.

– We have those two professors here today. Thank you so much. Please stand up.

– Not only are we celebrating your contribution, but hundred thousand people that are in need of organ transplant just in the United States have now new hope. Not only for themselves, for their families. So thank you so much for your contributions.

– Now, many universities claim that they save lives, and then we have great universities, Johns Hopkins, Harvard, they have great medical schools. But we have a great medical school, but on top of that, we have something that no other university can match.

– And that is the nuclear research reactor. And what we do there is unique. Here in this picture, you see Ms. Dianna Pummill from Otterville, Missouri. And she is at MU Health Care being treated by Dr. Greg Biedermann and his colleague.

– And they’re using a revolutionary drug called LUDATHERA. And that drug uses the key component of lutetium 177, which was developed at Mizzou, and it’s still being produced at Mizzou. That will extend her life.

– Each week, we ship out 11,000 doses of radioisotopes that go all over the world that go into drugs to treat thyroid cancer, liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, and very soon breast cancer and prostate cancer.

– Each week, 11,000 doses. Imagine how many lives, the work that we do at our university touches not only in Missouri, but in the United States and all over the world.

– Next, we can’t really talk about the success of Mizzou, without the contributions of our alums, all 350,000 strong. In every field, they made important contributions.

– They blaze new frontiers, and they’re so proud of this university. They’re engaged with the university and they’re invested in our success. And last year through their hard work, we completed a $1.4 billion capital campaign.

– Thanks to the support of 180,000 alum donors, our success is due to their contributions to our university. So really many great things for our alums and many friends that supported our initiatives.

– Now, these are just a few of the examples that show Mizzou’s rise as a world class university, world class university. But the Mizzou’s rise in these areas are very important for us to consider in the context of a comprehensive university.

– We must do an outstanding job of teaching and educating the next generation.

– We must pursue research that benefits society, and we need to have engagement with members of our community, members of our state, nation and the world.

– That’s what a world class university does. But I know that all of you are thinking, but we can do more.

– Think about the impact if we can create instead of 11,000 doses of radio isotopes, if we can triple that, how many more lives we can save.

– Those are the important objectives that we all have as a university.

– So let me share with you some of the milestones that show that we are rising, rising in not only our state, but our country and the world.

– Next slide, please.

– Enrollment I know is in the minds of many, many who are teaching our students, many in the community that provide employment for our students.

– Look at the impressive growth. That growth is only made possible because of all of your hard work. You contributed to this success. You need to take credit for this success.

– Parents and students recognize Mizzou for its high quality education, our affordable cost of attendance, and the incredible skills that we provide so that our students are marketable after they graduate. And they also know that the career outcomes are very high for our students.

– Now we’re not only enrolling more students, but also we’re graduating them at record rates. So let’s take a look.

– I’ll give you a chance to take a look at what happened during the past two years alone, comparisons of 2015 graduation rates and either 2020 or 2021.

– For all students, we achieved our historic high during a pandemic. Historic high for Pell students, historic high for black and African American students, and historic high for Hispanic and Latinx students.

– All during the pandemic. This tells me, while we are looking at statistics, that our faculty and staff took the time to mentor, advise and support our students so that they can succeed.

– But once again, are we satisfied with where we are? I’m not, I know our faculty and staff are not.

– We wanna see all of our students increase our performance and reduce the disparities between the different groups. And that is a very key component of MizzouForward.

– Next slide.

– Our students are also in great demand. 95% of our students after they graduate from the university, either have jobs or are in graduate school or join the military.

– These statistics are the highest in the SEC. But we wanna see that at 100%. And I know parents wanna see that at 100% too, so we’re gonna do our part.

– But it’s because of results like this, that Mizzou is ranked the number one best value, best value among the 17 flagship universities that surround our state. We’re ahead of Iowa. We’re ahead of Illinois. We’re ahead of KU. And we’re very proud of that.

– Now we have to continue to make investments, investments so that the value of a Mizzou education increases.

– But we’re also a research university. And as a research university, we need to focus on the metrics by which AAU universities are measured.

– What you see here is a five year value of proposals at the federal level per faculty. During the past three years, even during the pandemic, we had an 84% growth of that value.

– And the proposals per faculty is a leading indicator that leads to awards, that leads to expenditures. And we are so proud of our faculty members for contributing, by collaborating and submitting proposals that are nationally competitive.

– Next, if we combine the expenditures at the federal level, state, and from industry, we get what call the NSF HERD expenditure data. And if you look at this data from 2016 to 2021, we’ve increased 39%.

– In 2016, we were ranked 88th in the country in terms of total R&D expenditures. With the value of $388 million for 2021, we expect our rankings to increase from 88 to 67.

– There’s no other university that had that kind of an impact. And that’s due to the hard work of our faculty and the staff that support that work.

– Now, by combining our impact in research, workforce development, healthcare extension, athletics, by combining all of those activities that we do at this comprehensive university, we can also determine the economic impact.

– And our economic impact is massive. $5 billion. To put that into context, Mizzou receives about 200 million from the state that is a 25 to one return on investment. For any a businessman or a banker that’s out there, those are pretty good returns.

– We are a great value. We provide impact to the state. Through our economic impact, there are 50,000 people that get supported in either direct or indirect jobs.

– And our alums, over 150,000 that work in Missouri, their contributions alone is $27 billion. But I know we can do more.

– We can become an even greater engine for economic development by increasing our research, improving our student success metrics and using extension and all of the incredible network that we have, make an impact in each county in the state of Missouri.

– Our rise is also evident from the support from elected officials and the citizens of Missouri that they represent.

– And I’ll give you a chance to read through some of the quotes, but six years ago, there were very few, few elected leaders had anything positive to say about the university, but that has changed dramatically.

– And it’s changed because of your hard work. They see the results that I shared with you before.

– And now more and more elected leaders are coming to us, asking us how they can support our mission, but we have to make sure that we continue to deliver because it’s not what we’ve done for this state yesterday that matters, it’s what we do today and tomorrow.

– Next slide, please.

– With the support from legislators at both the state and federal level, last year, we had the highest increase of appropriations in 35 years.

– This year, the governor announced that he’s gonna make a big increase in our core appropriations, as well as $104 million for key capital projects. And he also indicated that this is gonna be the first of three years of investments in our university.

– He’s a true believer. And just last week, we learned from Senator Blunt and members of our congressional delegation that we will be provided with $64 million this year to support NextGen and MizzouForward for capital projects.

– You know, all of these examples just illustrate why our momentum is just unstoppable. Now we need to continue this momentum by focusing on doing what it’s right, and focusing on the future.

– To do that, we need to think, act and invest like a world class university. We must shape our future with great intention and match it with strategic investments.

– And MizzouForward is just that. It is our blueprint to transform the institution for the future. And we’re so excited about this. But I believe the next video will tell the story better than me.

– So roll the video.


– I wanna emphasize what our student Joe Quick just said, “To impact our community and the world at large.”

– It really does encapsulate our land-grant mission.

– And the strategic investment for MizzouForward will be to achieve excellence at the highest level, increase our standing among AAU institutions, provide incredible opportunities for our students, and to ensure that those research and educational components get translated to many different parts of the world.

– And at its core, this is an investment in our people. So let’s go to the next slide. And it starts with hiring outstanding faculty.

– As you can see from this slide, it’s a $1.5 billion investment for the next 10 years with hiring of new faculty and staff, ensuring that our faculty and staff are compensated using a long term plan, and investments in both infrastructure and support programs so that we have greater success of our faculty, staff and students.

– What is different about MizzouForward compared to other initiatives is that it is strategically focused in these three key areas.

– The area of NextGen Precision Health. You saw some of the examples of what we can do by using precision and personalized approaches to treat patients. Also in the area of new frontiers of science and engineering.

– There are grant challenges, whether it’s sustainability, security. And in the very important area that supports the arts, humanities and social sciences, how do we create more equitable and just society by using our most innovative ideas, policies, and culture?

– We’re already in full swing with our faculty hiring. These are some of the recent Mizzou hires, and they bring innovative ideas for collaboration.

– And they will join the world class faculty members that are already here at Mizzou. And they’re coming to our universities from some of the best universities in the world.

– So let’s find out why they are coming to our university.

– Professor Terpstra was a faculty member at the University of Minnesota. And she is a world renowned, world renowned scientist on biomedical imaging.

– And Professor Jeong comes to us from Michigan state, and he’s a world class reproductive biologists.

– They’re both coming because of the investments the university has made as part of NextGen and MizzouForward.

– The instrumentation, whether it’s for genomic sequencing or MRIs to delve into the most minute changes in the blood flow of a human brain. Those are the investments that have attracted these outstanding people.

– Professor Lin, is a world class neuroscientist, and she works on advances in Alzheimer’s. She comes to us from the University of Kentucky.

– And she chose our university because of the possibility to collaborate with so many, at the medical school, arts and sciences, engineering, as well as College of Vet Med.

– Professor Joseph Santin, is a world expert on neuro diseases. He can’t wait to use a 7T MRI, 3T MRI, pet scan, all in the same space that can be used for both human and animal research, and clinical care.

– And he’s looking forward to collaboration with colleagues at the university.

–  Another very critical investment that we have is performance-based salary.

– And we’ve talked about this on a number of occasions. That yes, it’s great to work at Mizzou, but when we want our faculty and staff to compete nationally with other faculty and staff at AAU institutions, we need to provide them with the resources and the compensation that are comparable.

– So we have a five year plan to increase the salaries our faculty and staff using $500 million over the next five years. We need a long term sustained plan.

– And I wanna thank the board for their support of this very important initiative.

– As I shared earlier, it’s very important for us to build on our world class faculty. And here, you have a few examples of some of our faculty members that have received both highly prestigious and prestigious awards from major organizations.

– And just a few that I’d like to highlight. Professor Steve Carion from English received the NEH fellowship, Professor Susan Renoe from journalism and the research office, received the AAAS fellowship. and professor Haley Horseman from communications received the Fullbright Fellowship.

– We have so many outstanding faculty members that are displayed here, but many others. But we don’t yet have a culture of nominating each other for these outstanding awards. We’re just too modest.

– We just have to change that. We need to have that culture of excellence where chairs, deans nominate colleagues, where senior faculty members nominate each other and their junior colleagues, because our top faculty members can compete with top faculty members of any university in this country.

– We just have to give them the tools to succeed.

– Let me talk about what the Provost Office will be doing into increase to be intentional about honors and awards.

– They’ve already hired five individuals to help support this concept by identifying those faculty members who have research and scholarly performance that are at the level of receiving one of these awards.

– There’s also a searchable database that all faculty members will have access to, to identify awards in their discipline.

– And then, have training sessions, have workshops. But also the last step is to actually help support the nomination and application process. We should be getting 30, 40, 50 of these awards each and every year based on the quality of faculty members that we have.

– To further increase faculty success, the Provost Office recently launched, the Provost Programs of Excellence. This is designed primarily to support faculty in arts, humanities and social sciences.

– And we’ll start with the Great Books Program. In the humanities arts, social sciences, that particular measure, number of scholarly books that are published has now become an AAU Phase 1 metric.

– We also wanna help faculty members who are in their mid career to help elevate and accelerate the research by having additional support. And we’re gonna continue with catalyst research grants that stimulate original scholarship.

– But with all of this, there is an expected return on investment. We would like to see more books published. We would like to see our faculty members receive more national awards and honors. And we want to see more research grant in these fields.

– Recently, Vice Chancellor Tom Spencer made significant investments in the office of research innovation and impact.

– And he hired Dr. Susan Renoe, and Dr. Susan Reno hired three additional people to begin with: Dr. Pulaski and Dr. McGee from Arizona State University. And Dr. Terry from our program.

– They will be developing teams of support that include proposal managers, include technical editors and also illustrators and evaluators to help support faculty teams develop large multi investigator proposals so that they can be more successful when they submit their proposals.

– In addition, key staff hirings and resource investments in pre-award support, research analytics, as well as core facilities that all of our faculty members use, including high performance computing.

– Now, we’ll also we need to continue to invest in research facilities. The Roy Blunt NextGen Precision Health Building is truly impressive. It’s truly world class. But the last time we built the building of that scale was in 2004.

– Waiting 17 years as an AAU institution to build new research buildings is way too long. We’re gonna continue to make investments in these areas.

– And here are some examples. The VMDL that’ll help support not only research at the university, but help support the work of producers throughout Missouri, as well as our investments to prepare for the next pandemic.

– We’ll be at the leading edge by investigating new ways to detect and treat infectious diseases.

– At the outset of our conversation, we talked about the importance of MURR. How important it is that we’re generating these radioisotopes.

– While that importance took on new meaning, new importance for this university, when last month University of Missouri became the only place in the world that produced radio isotopes for those critical cancer medicines.

– That’s because of facilities that are in Europe, shut down for servicing. But our nuclear research reactor since 1966, operated 364 days a year, 24/7, doing the life saving work that it does.

– But our facility is gonna be 50 years old very soon. I’m sorry, not 50, 60 years old, very soon. So we have to be prepared for the future.

– And so we are gonna make investments now to expand the capacities by building MURR West so that we can add more radioisotope processing capabilities.

– And because we produce more radioisotopes than the entire U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. DOE will fund the building on our campus with more radio processing. We expect both of these buildings to be completed by 2024, but we’re not done.

– We’re already in discussions with the board about expanding our capabilities. And we are contemplating right now how to get MURR 2, the second generation nuclear research reactor right here in Central Missouri, so that we can become that epicenter of nuclear medicine right here in Columbia, Missouri.

– So it’s truly, truly exciting time.

– Now I want to focus the work of our faculty and staff on providing the incredible work that they do for student success.

– And at our core, we are a university, university that is to educate and train the next generation of leader, despite the fields that they’re chosen. Regardless of their field.

– And our focus will be in providing the most advanced coursework to provide experiential learning and improved advising.

– We recently issued a call for proposals to upgrade and modernize teaching facilities, provide new instrumentation, and better and improved ways of delivering that education for modern students.

– We were truly amazed by the response. We had over 75 proposals that were submitted, and I wish we could have supported all 75. We ended up supporting 51 at a cost of about $4 million.

– And through this effort, 10 colleges and extension had benefited with the investments that we made on average, about $100,000, for us to develop the type of learning curriculum and the engaged learning that is so critical for Mizzou education.

– And this type of investment will have an impact at the individual and collective level.

– Let me share with you the story of Travante Haughton. And he’s a student from St. Louis studying engineering. And he’s working with Spot, the Boston Dynamics robot.

– The real key here is that he’s not playing with Spot, he’s programming Spot to gain better understanding of the kinematic dynamics and control. So that Spot and robots like Spot can be used for rescue operations, surveillance operations, or minimally invasive surgery.

– Travante is preparing to go to graduate school, having that kind of experience, working with the most advanced robot that’s out there, will give him an edge over other students.

– We invested $100,000 into this program so that we can expand to reach to other students. We want the thousands and thousands of students that graduate from our university to have experiences like this.

– And the projects range from developing new film studios so that our documentary students have the best option, best instruments and best options when it comes to creating their creative works. So it’s gonna span the entire spectrum of what we do at our university.

– Now, we also know that we can, and we must do more to support our students. So we are making investments through the Provost Office for our honors program.

– We should have every top Missouri students attending the University of Missouri. We need to provide them with the type of experiences that will track them and retain them at our university.

– And so there will be a new honors curriculum focused on STEM, focused on humanities, and the social sciences.

– In addition, we’re hiring dozens of advisors. We wanna make centralized advising a core of our university so that we can provide the best advice, career counseling, and just touching in with students to make sure that they are doing well at our university.

– And so all of these things combined to have a richer experience for our students.

– And also just like our faculty, I want our students to be applying for national honors, national awards. I’ve been saying this ever since I came to the university, our top students can compete with top students at any university in the country.

– So we need to make sure that they have the tools, resources, and support to be nominated for outstanding awards, including the Fulbright, Rhodes, NSF Fellowship, and so forth.

– Our graduate students come from all over the country, all over the world. They come here to seek new knowledge, create new knowledge, expand their horizons as scholars, and develop skills to become leaders in their chosen field.

– We have two of our students that are pictured there. First is Alaina Wilson, and she is in the HDFS department pursuing her PhD. The second is Roland Oruche studying computer science, pursuing his PhD.

– They both receive the most important and prestigious National Science Foundation, Graduate Research Fellowship Program. They were joined by about five other students at Mizzou that received this award.

– I wanna see us get 25, 30, 40 each year because our students are that good.

– So, we’re gonna be making investments through the graduate school, as well as our support programs throughout the universities, so that we can increase the number of recipients of national fellowships of graduate studies, as well as national fellowships for post-doctoral fellows.

– This is an investment that we are making in our students, because like I said before, they are that good and they deserve it.

– So in closing, let me share with you my deep appreciation for all of your hard work, all of your hard work at the university. I’m reminded of the very important words that President Jesse shared 130 years ago.

– And that we are achieving that excellence, but we also that we can do more if we are determined and strategic. The words from President Jesse resonates so much because they were so powerful in the face of this incredible challenge that he faced.

– He was resilient in the face of that adversity and that he also had a strong message of hope.

– For us to achieve the goals that he established 130 years ago, we have to focus. We have to be strategic. And we have to have the same bold thinking.

– We also recognize that there’s much work ahead. And change is hard. It takes discipline, takes courage. It takes resilience. But I know that we can do it.

– And together, we’ll achieve the high goals that were set 130 years ago and take our rightful place as a proud AAU university, focused on excellence, creating student success, and achieving research breakthroughs and creative works that set us apart from other institutions.

– So let me close by showing you this video. Let’s roll the tape.


– [President Mun Y. Choi] Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you so much for your support that brought us to this level. We’re gonna need your support and hard work to elevate us to that level of excellence, but I know that we can do it together with you. Thank you and have a wonderful, wonderful day. Thank you.