November 1, 2007

MU Boosters Pack Keith’s Cafe To Greet Chancellor

When college officials have a captive audience of boosters and alumni, the typical idea is to raise money.

But on Monday, the rolls were somewhat reversed when Chancellor Dr. Brady Deaton and a contingent of representatives from the University of Missouri stopped in Memphis for a luncheon at Keith’s Café.

Deaton highlighted the economic impact the school system has on the state, pointing out that while the University of Missouri is happy to accept contributions from the private sector, those investments also return dividends.

“Our research projects at the University of Missouri have approximately $3.5 million per week of economic impact on our community and our state,” Deaton told the crowd at Keith’s.

From 1996 to 2006, MU scientists spent $1.8 billion in research funds, most of which came to Missouri from outside the state. Those funds had an economic impact on Missouri of $3 billion.

Deaton pointed out that continued improvements in staff and in MU’s facilities and infrastructure have helped make this research industry possible, attracting multi-million dollar federal research grants.

The school annually performs $220 million of total research and development, with that figure more than doubling to $440 million in spending including as many as 9,000 job opportunities.

“We are attracting world class scholars for our students to work with and together they are making some of the greatest discoveries,” Deaton said.

College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources professor Randy Prather and his team were honored by Discover magazine with one of the top 100 science stories of 2006. The research in animal science was lauded for creating pigs that produce their own omega-3 fatty acids. This new type of pork could reduce the risks of heart disease. The achievement earned the university national publicity and was honored at number 38 on Discover’s year-end list.

The positive atmosphere in the academic world is coinciding with a growing fan frenzy for MU athletics. Athletic Director Mike Alden, and “The Voice of the Tigers” radio broadcaster Mike Kelly, both talked to the Keith’s crowd about MU sports, and the nationally ranked MU football team in particular.

Kelly pointed out that the Missouri football team, which is ranked #9 following Saturday’s win over Iowa State, has returned to accolades that the program has not seen since 1981, the last time it was ranked that high.

Alden noted that the football program’s success is being mirrored by many of the other athletic programs at the school.

The success on and off the field at MU is resulting in continued growth at the university, the chancellor pointed out. During the fall of 2006, MU welcomed the school’s largest ever enrollment, more than 28,000 students from all 114 Missouri counties as well as from all 50 states and over 100 foreign countries. Deaton reported that figure includes nine students from Scotland County.

Another area of MU success seen right here in Scotland County is the University of Missouri Extension service. Michael D. Ouart, Vice Provost and Director of University of Missouri Extension addressed the gathering and highlighted a number of success stories in the program while also offering praise for the local staff and volunteers including the Scotland County Extension Council members.

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