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Mizzou Wire

Mizzou in review

Looking back at a year of firsts, records and milestones

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  • Story by Karen Pojmann
  • Published: Dec. 23, 2008
End of year photos

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  1. The Mizzou Tigers win the 2008 Cotton Bowl.
  2. The 2008-09 football team sets new scoring records, wins the Big 12 North title and heads to the Alamo Bowl.
  3. Assistant coach Christian Cantwell wins a silver medal in shot put at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Mizzou wrestling assistant coach Ben Askren also competes, and 60 journalism students volunteer with the Olympic News Service.
  4. Mizzou employee Walter Bargen is named Missouri’s first Poet Laureate.
  5. Professor Ann Harrell leads vocal students to fame. Emily Bennett sings at Carnegie Hall, and Neal Boyd wins “America’s Got Talent.”
  6. MU holds International Education Week and the first MU International Day.
  7. Mizzou reaches new highs for international-student enrollment and study-abroad program participation, with marked increases in partnerships with China.
  8. The Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative holds a Diversity Summit and presents the first Inclusive Excellence Awards.
  9. The Missouri School of Journalism celebrates its centennial and opens the Reynolds Journalism Institute.
  10. Former Mizzou photojournalism director Angus McDougal and his wife, Betty McDougal, donate $846,000 to create the McDougall Center for Photojournalism Studies.
  11. MU marks 100 years of membership in the Association of American Universities.
  12. The International Institute of Nano and Molecular Medicine opens, and Director M. Frederick Hawthorne wins the Priestley Medal.
  13. An entire issue of the New Journal of Chemistry is dedicated to Professor Jerry Atwood.
  14. MU welcomes the largest freshman class in its history and breaks enrollment records.
  15. Mizzou awards its first Flagship Scholarships.
  16. Mizzou students Jennifer Kimball and Laura Merritt are named Truman Scholars.
  17. Laura Merritt is named one of Glamour magazine’s Top 10 College Women.
  18. Barack Obama visits campus five days before being elected the first black President of the United States.
  19. The For All We Call Mizzou fund-raising campaign surpasses the $1 billion mark.

At the University of Missouri, 2008 was one for the record books. Literally.

Mizzou reached new highs in enrollment and fund raising. We marked centennials and broke new ground. We reached across oceans to form partnerships and created new opportunities for Missourians at home.

A running start

Mizzou kicked off the new year — and ended the 2007-08 football season — with the Tigers winning the Cotton Bowl. The 2008-09 football team also has made headlines, breaking scoring records, tromping on old rivals and introducing a new wave of star players before taking the Big 12 North division title and heading to the Alamo Bowl.

Mizzou women dominated in athletics. The soccer team won the Big 12 North division championship tournament, and the women’s softball team captured the NCAA Regional title.

Some of our athletes stepped onto the international field. During the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, two MU assistant coaches/alumni competed on the U.S. team. Ben Askren was the first Tiger to wrestle in the Olympics, and Christian Cantwell was the first to win a medal in shot-put, bringing home Olympic silver.

Our part in the arts

Roses are red. Violets are blue. Missouri now has a laureate too. The new year heralded a new precedent for the arts in the Show-Me State when Gov. Matt Blunt named Walter Bargen, senior coordinator for MU’s Assessment Resource Center, Missouri’s first poet laureate

In the School of Music, Professor Ann Harrell led two of her protégés to national fame in 2008. Emily Bennett took first place in the vocal category of the Music Teachers National Association’s (MTNA) Young Artist competition and sang at Carnegie Hall. Also buoyed by Harrell’s coaching, vocalist Neal Boyd became a household name, winning top honors – and $1 million – on the NBC show “America’s Got Talent.” 

Photo collage

We are the world

In 2008, Mizzou got global. Enrollment of international students grew by more than 8 percent, setting a new record. The university held an International Education Week and photo show  as well as the first MU International Day, recognizing Tigers from more than 100 different countries.

In their research, students traveled all over the world to work with Operation Smile, to study migratory birds and to conduct health screenings of underserved children. Participation in Mizzou’s 400 study-abroad programs surged in 2008, with notable growth in China. Sixty Missouri School of Journalism students volunteered as interns for the Olympic News Service in Beijing.

As the 2007-08 school year wound down, the university held its first Mizzou Diversity Summit and Inclusive Excellence Awards presentations, recognizing the mind-broadening work of faculty and staff.

Year of the journalist

This year the Missouri School of Journalism took a look back, celebrating the centennial of its founding with a week of seminars, presentations, parties and hullabaloo that drew thousands of alumni. Notable visitors included ESPN's John Anderson, Entertainment Tonight's Jann Carl, Ketchum's Linda Eatherton, The Washington Post's Steve Fainaru and James V. Grimaldi, CNBC's Charles Gasparino, Fortune magazine's Carol J. Loomis, CBS News's Russ Mitchell, USA Today's Ken Paulson and The New York Times's Elaine Sciolino as well as Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko.

The school also took a big step into the future. The ultra-mod Reynolds Journalism Institute opened on campus, and former Mizzou photojournalism director Angus McDougal and his wife, Betty McDougal, donated $846,000 to create the McDougall Center for Photojournalism Studies, serving generations of students to come.

Research with results

While the J-School celebrated its 100th birthday, Mizzou marked 100 years of membership among top-ranked research institutions in the Association of American Universities.  In 2008, the university also welcomed a new vice chancellor for research, Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Robert Duncan, and reached record highs in funding for science research with a 7.4 percent increase from fiscal year 2007.

Mizzou researchers made new strides in studies of organ transplants, bone health and immune systems. They investigated memory and learning. In a year of worldwide economic uncertainty, they explored greed and need.

In October the International Institute for Nano and Molecular Medicine opened on the MU campus, heralding a new era of collaboration in biological and nuclear sciences. Its director, M. Frederick Hawthorne, will receive the 2009 Priestley Medal, an honor considered second only to the Nobel Prize.

Also this year, Professor Jimi Cook was named America’s best vet, and an entire issue of the New Journal of Chemistry was dedicated to Professor Jerry Atwood.

On campus: living extra large

Bucking state and regional trends, the 2008-09 school year brought the largest and most diverse freshman class ever and, with it, new housing innovations.

To serve those students – and fulfill its role as a land-grant state university – Mizzou offered its first Flagship Scholarships in 2008. In another scholarship first, of the nation’s 65 Truman Scholarship recipients, two, Jennifer Kimball and Laura Merritt, were Mizzou students. Merritt also was named one of Glamour magazine’s Top 10 College Women.

High-profile visitors generated a buzz around the columns in 2008. Just five days before being elected the first black President of the United States, Barack Obama spoke on campus, attracting a crowd of about 40,000 people. Along with the bevy of state and local government leaders, Mizzou welcomed visits from former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright this year. Other well-known visitors included Three Cups of Tea author Greg Mortenson and Animal Planet host Jeff Corwin.

As the year wound down, Mizzou fund raising picked up. The For All We Call Mizzou campaign surpassed the $1 billion goal, generating support for students, faculty and programs  — and raising the bar for 2009.

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Last updated: June 6, 2013