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Campus Highlights - February 2021

Dear university community,

Earlier this month, NASA’s Perseverance rover landed safely on the surface of Mars. The mission paves the way toward an eventual round trip to Mars with the possibility of bringing samples of the red planet’s surface back to Earth. This is an incredible achievement, and the name Perseverance is deeply meaningful for our nation in these times. As an institution, we are persevering, too. I am so proud of the continued efforts toward our own missions of education, research and engagement and the continued resilience demonstrated across the system.

This month, we paid tribute to an example of perseverance, past MU faculty member Henry Kirklin. The new Plant Sciences Learning Laboratory at MU is dedicated to Mr. Kirklin, who is thought to be the first Black instructor at Mizzou. As February is Black History Month, it’s a fitting time to gain a deeper understanding of the Black legacy across the UM System. From the accomplishments of Black alumni at Missouri S&T to conversations about race in America at UMKC and UMSL, this month has been an important time to reflect.

"The new Plant Sciences Learning Laboratory at MU is dedicated to Mr. Kirklin, who is thought to be the first Black instructor at Mizzou."

NextGen Precision Health, our highest-priority initiative to chart new territory on the path to better health for Missouri and beyond, continues to develop. On March 10, the NextGen Discovery Series will feature Dr. Russ Waitman, NextGen director of medical informatics and dual appointee of MU and UMKC. Dr. Waitman will speak to how researchers can leverage the UM System’s big data infrastructure in their own work. If you missed last month’s inaugural session of the Discovery Series, please see the recording online to hear Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and NextGen Executive Director Dr. Richard Barohn share the current status and future goals of the project.

 

  

"Dr. Waitman will speak to how researchers can leverage the UM System’s big data infrastructure in their own work."

We’ve also carried forth our mission in many other areas. Our systemwide online learning initiative will celebrate a milestone with the virtual launch of Missouri Online on March 9. MU received a $3.9 million grant to teach computer coding skills to rural students. The UMKC Conservatory is celebrating the creation of 27 endowed scholarships, well surpassing the original goal of 20. Missouri S&T hosted a virtual career fair on February 16 and helped nearly 200 employers connect with students. UMSL will continue work with St. Louis County to reform local justice systems, aided by a $1.3 million grant from the MacArthur foundation.

"Dr. Waitman will speak to how researchers can leverage the UM System’s big data infrastructure in their own work."

Accomplishments of this scale would not be possible without our hard-working faculty, staff and students. It’s very rewarding when their talents are recognized on the national level, such as MU’s Dr. Chung-Ho Lin’s selection as a Senior Member, and MU’s Dr. Hongbin Ma’s and UMKC’s Dr. Reza Derakhshani’s naming as Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors. I’m so proud that three UM System faculty were selected for these prestigious honors.

I’m also proud when our students create artistic performances that fortify our spirits. Please catch “To Bathe or Not to Bathe,” performed by Missouri S&T’s theater students. The one-woman show will be streamed for free tonight and tomorrow evening, and you can learn more at the event page.

Please catch “To Bathe or Not to Bathe,” performed by Missouri S&T’s theater students. The one-woman show will be streamed for free tonight and tomorrow evening.

I’m inspired by how our community exhibits perseverance and know that it benefits us now and will continue to do so far into the future. Thank you for that you do for our university. If you have a story about perseverance from our community, please send it to president@umsystem.edu.

Reviewed 2021-02-26