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Campus Highlights - July 2018

Last week, the Board of Curators held its annual development session in Springfield, Missouri. The curators and I appreciated the opportunity to engage with our valued partners and legislators in the southwest region of the state and thank them for their hospitality. During the meeting, Board Vice Chair Darryl Chatman presented a report from the University Task Force. For the past year, the task force has sought input from faculty, staff and students to update the mission, vision, executive philosophy and guiding principles of the University. This final task force report provides clear principles of the lines of authority and defines specific roles and responsibilities to achieve excellence. The curators also approved changes to two Collected Rules and Regulations (20.010, General Organization; and 20.030, Executive Philosophy), which provide clarity to policies and allow each of us to operate in a more effective, transparent and accountable manner to fulfill our critical mission as one university system.

As a result of the discussion, University leadership developed a vision statement for the UM System that I am excited to share with you:

"Advance the opportunities for success and well-being for Missouri, our nation and the world through transformative teaching, research, innovation, engagement and inclusion."

At the conclusion of the meeting, the board voted to extend my contract until 2024. I am so honored by the board’s confidence in our collective leadership that include the chancellors and general officers. It is truly a privilege for us to lead the UM System, and I could not be successful without the dedication of each of you—the faculty, staff, students and friends of our historic institution.

I plan to share more about the future of the UM System we are building together at my State of the University Address on Monday, September 14 at 10:00 a.m. Please mark your calendar. You will hear more about this event soon.

In addition to the advances made at the Board of Curators meeting, July was a month full of fundraising milestones and generous contributions by some of our greatest supporters.

July also held notable events for the UM System. On July 14, for example, MU’s Rebecca Johnson was featured on’s Health + Happiness segment, Positive Pet Benefits (from minute 4:27-7:37). Dr. Johnson currently serves a Presidential Engagement Fellow, a cohort of fellows representing some of the best, brightest and most highly-engaged UM System faculty members who are experts on various topics. If you have a club or group in need of dynamic speakers, these individuals are ready to bring their work to your community and share how their research and teaching is benefiting Missourians. The Presidential Engagement Fellows are available for speaking engagements at no cost to you. Submit a request for a speaker via our dedicated form.

Another UM System highlight took place on July 16, when Rector Tyrone Pretorius and other leaders from the University of the Western Cape joined system leadership to celebrate the 32nd anniversary of the UM South African Educational Program. To commemorate the program, faculty members and students from all four universities shared the rewarding experiences they had as part of this collaborative partnership. It was moving for me to learn about the historic nature of our partnership from former Executive Vice President Ron Turner and former Vice President for HR Ken Hutchison who helped to develop and nurture the programs. Two common words I heard during this event were life-changing and enriching. The event was another reminder of just how many remarkable accomplishments our University community makes every day.

A future event, Faculty Development Resource Fair, will be held August 14 in an online platform. The UM System Office of Academic Affairs invites faculty members interested in applying for grants related to Open and Affordable Educational Resources and/or Intercampus Course Sharing to attend. This faculty development opportunity is designed to help applicants grow their network and gain access to subject-matter experts, so they can learn about opportunities for internal grant funding; explore the benefits of current programs; and acquire the knowledge to submit a good proposal. Participants can register via the program’s Qualtrics form by August 10 and attend from any location via Zoom.

Below are recent stories about our undergraduate and graduate students, alumni and faculty who are making their own contributions in the areas of student success, research breakthroughs and meaningful engagement. If you have an update or story to share, please send it to

For Zach Ellis, picking S&T was a slam dunk
As an all-state and all-district selection at Whitfield School in St. Louis, Zach Ellis knew he wanted to go to college where he could grow academically while continuing to play basketball. Picking Missouri S&T was a slam dunk for the 2016 engineering management graduate, who now works as a consultant for Microsoft.

Meet the newest Pat Tillman Scholar
Thomas Baker, an Army veteran pursuing a PhD in criminology and criminal justice, is the third UMSL student in as many years to be selected as a Pat Tillman Scholar by the Pat Tillman Foundation. Baker, who is the only 2018 recipient attending a university in the state of Missouri, will be awarded nearly $45,000 over four years to support his PhD work and research on understanding police use of force.

Marching with pride
Rachel Grayson chose Mizzou because she wanted to be a member of Marching Mizzou. Her favorite part about Marching Mizzou is keeping the traditions of the university alive through music with her best friends. 

Alison Graettinger and Julia Boyd explore the depths of Mars
Assistant professor of geosciences Alison Graettinger and physics junior Julia Boyd are using satellite imagery to explore the depths of Mars through the study of planetary volcanoes. A double minor in mathematics and classical and ancient studies, Julia is new to the field of geology and says she benefits most from the one-on-one time for learning and interacting with peers, educators and her mentor.

Reviewed 2019-04-18