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Campus Highlights - February 2019

Dear University community,

As a public institution of higher education and research, it is our responsibility to break down the barriers that inhibit success. We do this by forging stronger connections across disciplines and keeping our minds open to innovative ways of doing things across the University of Missouri System.

Each day, the ongoing research and creative works across our University community demonstrate our commitment to our mission of serving students and Missourians. It can be seen in the work of our students, such as University of Missouri-Columbia’s Cydni Robertson, who published a children’s book that introduces her readers to new cultures while also highlighting the similarities in all people. We find it in the collaborations between creative forces at our universities, such as the upcoming joint performance featuring the University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory and the MU University Singers at the Kauffman Center on May 2. At the University of Missouri-St. Louis, it can be seen in the research that takes new approaches to understanding health, education and family dynamics in black communities. It can also be seen in the activities of MU Extension, which have introduced young innovators to proactive ways to face challenges in the agriculture industry at the National 4-H Youth Summit.

Each day, the ongoing research and creative works across our University community demonstrate our commitment to our mission of serving students and Missourians.

We can also see it in the works of our faculty, who break down the barriers of time and space so we can learn from the examples of the past. These faculty include Missouri University of Science and Technology’s John McManus, one of America’s premier military historians who was featured on the television event “Presidents at War,” as well as UMSL professors Jon McGinnis and Billy Dunaway, who recently won a nearly $1 million grant to examine the writings of medieval Islamic thinkers. I am so inspired by the fantastic diversity of the important work accomplished by our community.

Perhaps our most exciting opportunity for collaboration is the ongoing Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) and construction of the new precision medicine complex. Earlier this month, University leaders presented an update on our progress. We continue to maintain our expected timeline for the project and look forward to the building’s opening on October 19, 2021 (Save the date!). However, the precision medicine complex is more than a building. This project will transform health care by reducing the cost of delivery of care while increasing the quality of life for Missourians.

However, the precision medicine complex is more than a building. This project will transform health care by reducing the cost of delivery of care while increasing the quality of life for Missourians.

I was very excited to share our progress on the PMI and several other major initiatives at the 2019 Legislative Showcase. The annual showcase allows legislators to interact with UM System faculty, staff and students to learn about University programs that benefit Missouri citizens. In addition to the PMI, other featured projects for 2019 include our continuing efforts to curb the opioid overdose crisis and workforce development programs that will expand our already considerable economic impact in the state. One of my priorities as UM System president is to ensure we work effectively with our elected officials, and this opportunity to show them a glimpse of our research in action was an important opportunity to advance that goal. On that day, Senator Caleb Rowden and Representative Greg Razer announced the formation of UM System Caucus, a caucus with more than 80 members to serve as advocates for public higher education.

I’d like to conclude by talking about one of the most important responsibilities of the UM System, to serve students in their quest to achieve success. Last month I announced an expansion of the UM System Promise and Opportunity Scholarships at UMKC. We continue to seek partnerships to grow this program while also promoting other programs that increase access to higher education, such as the UMSL Proud to Be First program that matches first-generation freshmen with faculty mentors.

Another important program that breaks down educational barriers is the University of Missouri South Africa Education Program (UMSAEP). Over the past 32 years, we’ve worked with the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in South Africa to advance mutual understanding between institutions and foster collaborative research projects.

Over the past 32 years, we’ve worked with the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in South Africa to advance mutual understanding between institutions and foster collaborative research projects.

This April, several UM System campuses will hold symposiums for current and past participants to showcase the UM/UWC partnership and provide information on applying for a UMSAEP grant. The symposium schedule is:

  • UMSL: Friday, April 5, 2019, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m., Room 331, Social Science and Business Building
  • MU: Monday, April 8, 2019, 3:00 – 4:30 p.m., Columns C&D, Reynolds Alumni Center
  • UMKC: Thursday, April 11, 2019, 3:00 p.m., Room (TBD)

At Missouri S&T, please contact Jeanie Hofer (jeanie@mst.edu) to schedule departmental or individual meetings on April 9 to learn more about the UMSAEP program and application.

As always, I’m so proud of our faculty, staff and students and the work they do to further our vision of advancing the opportunities for success and well-being for Missouri, our nation and the world. If you have a story to share about how the UM System breaks down barriers to progress, please send it to president@umsystem.edu.

Sincerely,
Mun Y. Choi
President, UM System


Reviewed 2019-03-15