I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like the semester flew by. This has been a busy year for the University of Missouri System. We’ve worked on many fronts to advance our vision of improving life in Missouri and beyond. To name just a few developments: freshmen enrollment at the University of Missouri-Columbia is up by more than 15% and our innovative eLearning program has attracted attention. Through the leadership of MU Extension, we also continue to provide support for those are persevering through the destruction from recent tornadoes and floods across the state. In these difficult times, our highest priority is to help our community where the need is greatest and show our fellow Missourians that they are not alone.
Our ongoing precision health initiative has also gained momentum. The Board of Curators officially approved the project, Dr. James Abbey now serves as project manager and Tim Hausman will serve as chief fundraiser for the initiative. Since announcing the project last fall, we’ve raised $14 million of our $100 million philanthropy and industry partnership funding goal. It’s very important to me to share the vision and the incredible potential of the precision health initiative with our community, as I was able to do at a reception on May 16 with former UM Curator Tom Atkins. Donor outreach has already yielded an anonymous $5 million gift for the project and the state Legislature also agreed to budget $10 million to support construction of the new complex to support this initiative that will help transform healthcare in the state. I am so proud of the work we do to bring tangible value to the communities in Missouri.
It’s very important to me to share the vision and the incredible potential of the precision health initiative with our community, as I was able to do at a reception on May 16 with former UM Curator Tom Atkins.
Our legacy of value is upheld by the efforts and dedication of our community members. This month we celebrated Dr. Tom Spencer’s election to the National Academy of Sciences. We are also looking ahead to the future of our legacy, by welcoming new leaders who will help us continue to build and grow. These include Dr. Mohammad Dehghani, who will become the new chancellor of the Missouri University of Science & Technology, and Matt Gunkel, who will serve as chief eLearning Officer. We are also building new relationships that will expand our community and its impact, such as our important new partnership with the Siemens Healthineers, which will aid delivery of precision health advances across the state and beyond.
Another important part of our legacy is providing students with a high-quality education and relevant training to prepare them for success. This month, we conferred more than 10,000 degrees across our four system universities! We look forward to watching them pursue their dreams and contribute to the workforce and economic development in Missouri and beyond.
We look forward to watching them pursue their dreams and contribute to the workforce and economic development in Missouri and beyond.
So many of our students have deeply impressed me by demonstrating our values through their hard work. Their efforts are highlighted by various awards, including the national recognition of UMKC Pharmacy students and UMSL Criminology PhD students, or the Renaissance awards given to Missouri S&T graduates. Along with awards, their talent and dedication open new doors, such as when MU seniors studying strategic communication had the opportunity to present their findings to executives at major corporations like Southwest Airlines. The spring commencement season provides a special opportunity to applaud these students and others for their contributions to the university’s legacy.
The ceremony of commencement is also an important moment to reflect on the examples of successful individuals who have dedicated themselves to giving back to the University and the community. One of the finest of these was Henry Bloch, whose role in changing lives through the UMKC Bloch School, as well as the Bloch Scholars and UM System Promise and Opportunity Scholarship programs, will not be forgotten. We also celebrate other examples, such as Missouri S&T alumnus and honorary degree recipient, Bipin Doshi, who retired from a career as an influential and innovative CEO after starting out as an engineer. We also recognized honorary degree recipients Justice Albert “Albie” Sachs, anti-apartheid leader and judicial activist, and Rev. Melvin E. West, humanitarian and founder of Personal Energy Transportation at MU commencement ceremonies. MU also recently honored alumnus Jim Liu and his wife Melanie, who made significant contributions to support students. Beyond financial support, UM System alumni also give back by building networks of success that bridge back to graduating students. The UMSL Alumni Association recently recognized four College of Business Administration alumni for their successes. These inspiring examples and alumni successes are so important to carrying on a strong legacy for the entire university system.
Right now, our university is looking to the future of our legacy. In this time of strategic growth, we’re investing carefully in our dreams for the future of Missouri and the world. We are growing in many different ways, from the expansions of the MU Veteran’s Center and the Missouri S&T Kummer Student Design Center, to the construction of the new precision health complex that will serve the entire UM System (save the date for the groundbreaking on June 21, 2019 at 11 a.m. at the Corner of Hospital Drive and Virginia Avenue!). We’ll also be holding our next collaborative UM System Research Summit: “Road to Resilience: Disaster to Social and Environmental Resilience” at 10 a.m. on June 19 at MU’s Stotler Lounge (the last summit at Missouri S&T can be viewed here). All of these exciting developments are possible because of your support. Thank you.
Right now, our university is looking to the future of our legacy. In this time of strategic growth, we’re investing carefully in our dreams for the future of Missouri and the world.
If you have a story to share about carrying on the UM System legacy, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mun Y. Choi
President, UM System