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July

31

2019

Campus Highlights - July 2019

This has been a bittersweet summer for the University of Missouri System. At all four of our universities, there have been fond farewells for departing leaders and introductions to those who will continue to lead the organizations. I took part in a wonderful send-off for Kevin McDonald, UM System chief diversity officer and MU vice chancellor for inclusion, diversity & equity. As we say goodbye to Kevin, I want to express appreciation for NaTashua Davis, who will be stepping in as interim vice chancellor for IDE at MU, and for Christine Holt and Marsha Fischer who will share the responsibilities of UM System interim chief diversity officer and interim chief equal opportunity officer, respectively. National searches will be conducted at both the system and campus level for permanent CDOs. At UMKC, we’re welcoming new vice chancellor for research, Yusheng (Chris) Liu and thanking Mark Nichols for his hard work as interim vice chancellor. At Missouri S&T, Chancellor-designate Mohammad Dehghani will officially assume his new duties on Aug. 1 and we will salute Interim Chancellor Chris Maples for his dedicated service during the past two years. We will also soon be sharing our best wishes for Chancellor Tom George who will be retiring after 16 years of service at UMSL and congratulating Kristin Sobolik on her appointment as interim chancellor. And at the UM System and MU, Gary Allen will retire as CIO this fall. Dr. Allen has served the University with great distinction and humility for nearly 32 years. Chancellor Cartwright and I will be appointing an interim CIO in the coming weeks. This changing of the guard reminds me how important each individual has been to the shared story and course in history of our institutions.

“At all four of our universities, there have been fond farewells for departing leaders and introductions to those who will continue to lead the organizations. I took part in a wonderful send-off for Kevin McDonald.”

I’m proud that so many members of our community are enthusiastic about enacting change that will impact future generations. This month we announced the Alliance for Precision Health with Siemens Healthineers and MU Health Care, the largest partnership of its kind for Siemens. Our partnership with Siemens Healthineers will ensure our universities and health care partners have continued access to leading-edge diagnostic and therapeutic equipment. The Alliance for Precision Health is one of the partnerships fueling the NextGen Precision Health Initiative in innovation by combining our strengths with leaders in vascular, cancer and neurological research.

“Our partnership with Siemens Healthineers will ensure that our universities and healch care partners have continued access to leading-edge diagnostic and therapeutic equipment.”

 

Looking back on the decades, it’s clear that people form the backbone of the programs and traditions that define our impact on the world. For example, at UMKC, the School of Pharmacy (the premier pharmacy school in Missouri and beyond) has more than 15 years of history collaborating with other universities to expand accessibility of the only public PharmD program in the state and the program helps students win national awards. The ever-evolving UMKC Conservatory is another example, with a cultural impact that has been fueled by artist collaborations for the last 60 years. At UMSL, Beverly Tucker has dedicated herself for the past 20 years to helping child victims find their voice at the Children’s Advocacy Center. For the past 50 years, volunteers for the MU Summer Welcome program have introduced incoming students to their new home at Mizzou. Another important milestone was the 40th anniversary of the St. Louis Storytelling festival, a collaboration with MU Extension that connected world-renowned storytellers with over 18,000 members of the St. Louis community this year. You can watch a short documentary about the festival at this link. This year, we also celebrate 50 years of the Community Development Society, a group founded by dedicated individuals at MU that is internationally active and continues to work with MU Extension. Sometimes our influence even extends beyond the boundaries of the Earth itself. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing and a celebration of the role that three Missouri S&T graduates and Mizzou scientists played in this monumental event.

We strive to continue writing a history of impactful engagement by the UM System. One of our most important investments on this front has been the establishment of the Presidential Engagement Fellows. The mission for the program is to take faculty expertise into Missouri communities, especially rural and under-served communities, to share the impact of the research and teaching at our universities. This year’s class has a broad range of expertise, from leading efforts to combat the national opioid overdose crisis (featured in the New York Times!) to providing new interpretations of soldier experiences in global wars, and much more. Engagement fellows can be requested to speak by using this online form.

“I recently hosted ... Ruberta Harwell Weaver ... for dinner at Providence Point. Mrs. Weaver and her husband helped to design the home of the UM System President.”

I recently hosted an important figure from our institution’s history, Ruberta Harwell Weaver, the 103-year-old widow of John C. Weaver, UM System President from 1966 to 1970. She, her son Tom and his wife Karen joined my family for dinner at Providence Point. Mrs. Weaver and her husband helped to design the home of the UM System President. It was a pleasure to learn more from her about President Weaver and how individuals have contributed to building the history of our University.

If you’re a history lover like I am, you might consider attending the State Historical Society of Missouri’s dedication of the new Center for Missouri Studies (RSVP here!). The new building will be a space to exchange ideas and build connections between our University and Missourians. Each day I am so grateful for my place in the history of this incredible university and state, and I’m so glad to share this journey with all of you. If you have a story about how the UM System makes an impact in history, please send it to president@umsystem.edu.

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