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Campus Highlights - January 2018

Dear Friends of the University:

I’m pleased to share with you the first of a series of communications focused on the incredible people that make up our University—talented students, world-class faculty and dedicated staff—and the impactful contributions they make to student success, research breakthroughs as well as effective engagement.  Each month, I will send stories from our campuses with an opportunity to read more on their websites. Help us share these stories with friends and other supporters.  Also, I want to hear your personal story about the positive impact our University has made in your life by. You can send it to

A few weeks ago, The Chronicle of Higher Education published an article called ‘A Dying Town’ about Kennett, Missouri and the links between educational disparities and health outcomes. I believe that we can and must do more to support Missouri citizens and call upon our faculty, staff and students to make a difference. That is why I responded to The Chronicle and plan to follow through on this important commitment.

To further illustrate our value to the state of Missouri, we have updated our impact data sheets for 2018. You can access these data sheets for your county or legislative district by visiting

As always, thank you for your continued support for and dedication to our University.

Mun Choi
President of University of Missouri System

Campus highlights


University of Missouri-Columbia - Campus Highlights

Mizzou’s ‘successful career outcomes’ rate is significantly above peer average 
A recent survey shows that 90.4 percent of MU graduates have found successful career outcomes, including whether or not they are involved in public service, in the military or are continuing their education.

MU named Lyrissa Lidskey as new School of Law dean
Dean Lidsky began her work as dean of the MU School of Law on July 1, 2017. Before joining MU, Lidsky served as associate dean of the University of Florida law school. Her research focuses on the intersection of tort law and the First Amendment.

Affordability initiatives
During an address marking his first 100 days as MU’s top leader in November, Chancellor Alexander Cartwright announced two new scholarships: The Border State Scholars for students from neighboring states and the Black and Gold Scholarship, an expansion of opportunities for children of alumni. The announcement follows several affordability initiatives previously launched this year, including a new ROTC scholarship; a reduction in the cost of Mizzou’s most common housing and dining plans; the Missouri Land Grant awards for Pell-eligible Missouri residents; and a systemwide online textbook initiative to reduce the cost of textbooks and classroom resources.

MU bioengineer named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors
Sheila Grant, professor of bioengineering, was recognized for her work on optical biosensors and biomaterials used in healthcare diagnostics and treatment. Election to NAI Fellow status is the highest professional accolade bestowed to academic inventors.

Supporting middle school science: MU team receives $1.25 million NIH grant to help teachers
MU received a $1.25 million Science Education Partnership Award from the National Institutes of Health to strengthen STEM literacy materials and skills, provide professional development for teachers and assess the materials’ value for instruction. The research team will work with teachers to develop multimodal texts connected to inquiry-based activities reflecting current Missouri and national standards, and help identify instructional practices that can support all learners in their classrooms. 

Translational Precision Medicine Complex (TPMC) made the highest priority capital project for the UM System
In November, the Board of Curators approved major capital projects from every campus, allowing the projects to move forward for further planning and development. MU’s highest priority project is the $150 million TPMC, which will integrate multidisciplinary laboratory space with analytical instrumentation, computational process and “pilot scale” manufacturing in a single building.

Against all odds
Ramiro Arreola, a senior studying dietetics in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at Mizzou, is no stranger to hardship. Growing up in a rough neighborhood in the Los Angeles area didn’t make for an easy childhood. At Mizzou, Arreola has flourished. With a near perfect GPA, medical school is on his mind. Outside of the classroom, Arreola is a member of the Tae Kwon Do Club and MU Student Wellness Advocates.

School of Medicine, CoxHealth, Mercy Springfield open center to train more doctors for Missouri
The official opening of a new $42.5 million medical education center marks a milestone for a public-private partnership between MU and the Springfield health systems designed to address a critical shortage of physicians in the state and nation.

University of Missouri-Kansas City - Campus Highlights

Brian Klaas takes helm of Bloch School
Brian Klaas, Ph.D., is the new dean of the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management. He has bold plans for a “connected” school offering transformative experiences for students and the community.

New research and development building will serve campus and community
UMKC will build a $32 million education and research center for its rapidly expanding School of Computing and Engineering, where enrollment has doubled in less than 10 years to meet surging demand. The new building will feature the dynamic labs and high-tech equipment that are essential to attracting and accommodating the most promising future engineers and computer scientists to build Kansas City’s and Missouri’s future workforce.

Top 10 stories of the year: 2017 marks innovation and evolution for UMKC
The year’s highlights include establishment of the UMKC Health Sciences District; a School of Biological Sciences professor’s participation in Nobel-Prize-winning research; and the opening of the Bloch Venture Hub, a resource center for entrepreneurs at multiple pre-launch stages.

Nanotechnology research center launched
The UMKC School of Computing and Engineering was awarded a $772,060 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a nanotechnology research facility. The Center for Interdisciplinary Nano Technology Research is comprised of an equipment laboratory that will allow researchers and students to fabricate and experiment on nanoscale devices and circuits, and a high-powered computer simulation to perform in-depth analysis and validation of nanoscale designs and applications

Architecture that compounds interest
UMKC architecture students infused a building’s basic functionality with a higher mission: get the broader public excited about what’s going on inside. With a $1000 scholarship at stake, the assignment called for students to design a new home for UMKC’s Department of Physics and Astronomy.

School of Nursing and Health studies achieves Another high national ranking
The UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies ranked No. 18 among the nation’s best online graduate nursing programs of 2018 by U.S. News & World Report, earning at least a Top 25 ranking for the sixth year in a row. The ranking is the highest of any university in Missouri. In 2017, UMKC also ranked high at No. 21.

Missouri University of Science and Technology - Campus Highlights

Missouri S&T hires dean of engineering and computing
Dr. Richard W. Wlezien joined Missouri S&T as vice provost and dean of the College of Engineering and Computing in 2017. He comes to S&T from Iowa State University, where he was chair of aerospace engineering, and previously held research and leadership positions at NASA, DARPA and Tufts University.

Advanced Construction and Materials Laboratory project advances
Missouri S&T’s role as a leader in civil infrastructure is advancing with efforts to create the Advanced Construction and Materials Laboratory (ACML). The $6.5 million ACML project received support from the UM System Board of Curators in November 2017, and S&T and the UM System are partnering with private donors to fund the project.

NSF grant supports study of new materials
Missouri S&T physics professor Dr. Julia E. Medvedeva is leading a four-year effort to spur research, development and commercial adoption of a new class of semiconductors that outperform silicon-based transistors and could revolutionize consumer electronics. Medvedeva and researchers at Northwestern University received the $1.6 million National Science Foundation grant to further investigate “amorphous” materials.

Mars Rover Design Team: International champions
Missouri S&T’s Mars Rover Design Team designed and built the best Mars rover on Earth, as evidenced by the team’s world championship over 34 other university teams at the University Rover Challenge, held last spring in the deserts of Utah. The team will return this spring to defend its title. Read more about the team and this accomplishment in the latest issue of Missouri S&T Magazine.

George Holmes’ future is in control
After completing his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at Missouri S&T, Florissant, Missouri native George Leno Holmes Jr. decided to stay in Rolla to pursue a Ph.D. He’s now working on a doctoral degree in control system engineering through a federal fellowship known as GAANN (Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need).

For online learning, S&T grad programs are tops
Students interested in pursuing a master’s degree online have 15 nationally ranked programs to choose from at Missouri S&T. The S&T programs were recently ranked by U.S. News & World Report in its listing of 2018 Best Online Programs.

University of Missouri-St. Louis - Campus Highlights

A new dean for UMSL's College of Arts and Sciences
Andrew Kersten, an experienced administrator as well as historian from the University of Idaho, began as dean of UMSL's College of Arts and Sciences on August 1.

Accelerating success
The year 2017 marked the successful launch of Ameren Accelerator, a public-private partnership between Ameren, the UM System, UMSL and Capital Innovators. That effort was particularly in the spotlight during Demo Day this past fall.

Granted the opportunity to learn
Two UMSL College of Education researchers are helping to lead a $2.6 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education aimed at bolstering English language learning.

Angela Farrell's journey
As a sophomore at UMSL, Angela Farrell underwent a heart transplant. Three years later, the just-graduated psychology major is healthy and looking toward graduate school.

Strides in cybersecurity
UMSL earned a focus area specialization from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency — and was the only institution within a nine-state region to do so. The recognition expands on the UMSL program’s designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education.

UMSL No. 1 in Missouri for online bachelor's program
For those searching for an online bachelor's program in Missouri, there's no institution better than UMSL. That's according to U.S. News & World Report's 2018 list.

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Reviewed 2019-04-18