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Campus Highlights - April 2018

Dear Friends of the University:

In April, we had many opportunities to share how our students, faculty and staff serve the state of Missouri and its citizens through our commitment to teaching, research, engagement and economic development.

On April 5, 57 students representing our four campuses participated in Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol. During the event, students engaged with their hometown representatives and senators to showcase their research experiences and the contributions they make on their campuses and across the state and nation. These experiences, which range from science to medicine to the humanities, help prepare our students for graduate and professional studies at prominent universities as well as careers in leading industries. I am so proud of our students and pleased to know that they can compete with the best in the world. To see photos from the event, visit the UM System Flickr account.

During the Board of Curators meeting in Rolla, I formally announced the inaugural class of Presidential Engagement Fellows. This group of faculty will support the fulfillment of our land-grant mission by sharing their research and innovations across the state. We know our University has fantastic faculty on every campus who want to help improve the lives of all Missourians. That’s why the Presidential Engagement Fellows initiative, led by Vice Chancellor for Extension and Engagement Marshall Stewart, is designed to bring the life-changing, meaningful discoveries that are uncovered in University laboratories and classrooms to Missouri citizens, whether those discoveries lead to better agriculture practices, new treatments in health care, technological advances or world-class artistic performances.

On April 17, we announced the results from a comprehensive economic impact study conducted by Tripp Umbach, a nationally recognized firm, in front of our elected officials in Jefferson City. While we knew we had a strong financial impact on the state, our University community was pleased to learn that in addition to our $5.4 billion impact, 61,105 jobs are supported and $244.4 million in state and local tax revenue is generated in the state because of the University of Missouri System—our four campuses, MU Extension and MU Health Care. Access a full print report and additional information on our economic impact report webpage.

This spring, I have had the honor of surprising recipients of the President's Awards who have made remarkable contributions to the University. I look forward to sharing the full list next month and recognizing the awardees at a banquet in June. I continue to be impressed by the work of our University and the impact we have on our students, faculty and staff, as well as the citizens of the state. I want to hear more of these stories. Please share with me the positive impact our University has made in your life by emailing


Mun Choi, President
University of Missouri System


UMSL receives $3M grant to develop school leaders with character education focus
The Kern Family Foundation awarded a $3 million grant to the Center for Character and Citizenship in the College of Education to design, implement and evaluate a regional program that amplifies the reach and impact of character education through the professional development of emerging school leaders who UMSL and other local universities educate.

Still one of the nation’s best
U.S. News & World Report again ranked the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice among the country’s top-five graduate programs.


Missouri’s Division of Youth Services highlighted as national model
In the latest edition of “Children and the Law in a Nutshell,” Douglas E. Abrams, associate professor of law, outlines the development of juvenile law, a rapidly changing area of law. Missouri has led the way in moving away from a “get tough” approach for youths under 18 who break the law to a model that focuses more on rehabilitation and addressing the mental health needs of youth. 

Jack of all trades: Mizzou senior has jumped on various available opportunities
Andrew Liaromatis chose Mizzou because it was full of opportunity due to its size and vast number of majors offered. Liaromatis has studied abroad, is in the Marines officer program and is majoring in English, mass media communication and classical humanities. “Anything is possible at Mizzou,” he said.


UMKC Conservatory student learns from award-winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma
Ezgi Karakus of the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance was one of two local university students to learn from award-winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma. They were chosen to participate in a Master Class conducted in late March in front of a sold-out audience of more than one thousand people in Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. “When I was walking to the stage, Yo-Yo Ma was smiling at me and I felt like time stopped,” Karakus said. “I just could not believe it. I feel like he helped me change my perspective about the reason we play music.”

A New Hope for Diagnosing Alzheimer’s Early
More than 5 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease, the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. UMKC School of Medicine researcher Peter Koulen has found an innovative way to diagnose the early stages of the disease – with an eye exam. Currently, there is no single straightforward exam or test for diagnosing Alzheimer’s, which is what makes Koulen’s discovery so promising. Koulen’s work received a patent in January. With support from the university’s Office of Technology Commercialization, the technology is now drawing interest from medical device manufacturers and companies active in disease diagnostics.


S&T professor solves Thomas Hart Benton Mural mystery
Missouri S&T filmmaker and art historian Dr. James Bogan believes he’s solved an art mystery – the identity of a pivotal African American figure in Thomas Hart Benton’s 1936 mural in the Missouri State Capitol.

Newest solar car unveiled
In preparation for a 1,700-mile journey along the Oregon Trail this summer, Missouri S&T’s Solar Car Design Team unveiled its newest student-built sun-powered car, “Independence,” on April 18.

Reviewed 2019-04-18