By Lori Dresner, Managing Editor/News Editor
Visiting all four of the University of Missouri campuses last week, UM System President-Designate Mun Choi made his first stop at the University of Missouri-St. Louis on November 29. A public reception to welcome Choi was held that morning in Century Rooms A and B of the Millennium Student Center.
Around 150 faculty, staff, students, community members, and reporters from several media outlets crowded the room to hear remarks, which were made by Dr. Choi, Chancellor Thomas George, and Pamela Quigg Henderson, chair of the University of Missouri Board of Curators.
“The University of Missouri is a strong and proud institution, and together, working with you, we want to increase the level of excellence and stature. But we can only do that if we come together as a group, and I look forward to doing that with all of you,” said Dr. Choi in his remarks.
Thanking the audience, Choi concluded, “I’m very pleased to be at UMSL today and very pleased to lead this wonderful University of Missouri System.”
After remarks concluded, Chancellor George invited those in attendance to come forward and speak with Choi.
Dr. Choi, Chancellor George, and David Russell, Interim Chief of Staff, met with a variety of students from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in J.C. Penney 202. Dr. Choi asked to hear from students on their experience with UMSL and improvements they would like to see from the campus up to the UM System as a whole.
Dr. Choi discussed what he hopes to achieve as the next president of the UM System. “The key goal I want to help implement is to have all of the university- all four campuses- surely become a university of excellence,” Dr. Choi said. “A student-faculty focused approach is what is going to be taken at the system’s office.”
Dr. Choi continued to discuss what is important to focus on at the four universities in the future. “…We have to continue to hire outstanding faculty members who are nationally competitive who perform research, but also commit to teaching. Their research informs their teaching and their teaching informs their research. That’s how we are going to become a better, stronger, more reputable system,” he said.
While graduation ceremonies on all the campuses overlap, Choi promised if he could not make it to each campus at that time that he would visit another time. Dr. Choi said, “Even though my office is in Columbia, I am not going to be a stranger to St. Louis.”
Following his visit to UMSL, Dr. Choi visited the Missouri University of Science and Technology on Wednesday, the University of Missouri-Columbia Campus on Thursday, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City on Friday.
Named the incoming president on November 2, Dr. Choi will officially assume his position on March 1, 2017. Dr. Choi currently serves as provost and executive vice president of the University of Connecticut. He will be the 24th president of the UM System. Michael Middleton is the current Interim President of the UM System.