Dear Mizzou students,

As you may have heard, the Board of Curators has asked me to serve as the interim chancellor at Mizzou, as well as continue my duties as president of the University of Missouri System.

I am honored to step into this new joint role and look forward to working and interacting with all of you. It’s been three years since I arrived to Columbia, and I have had the pleasure of knowing first-hand the tremendous talent of our students, and the special caring culture of the Tiger family. My wife, Suzanne, and I are grateful to be a part of this community and to have front row seats to your successes at this world-class national research university. My daughter, Cosette, chose Mizzou because of the outstanding programs, and she looks forward to becoming a Tiger in the Fall.

I know this semester is unlike anything we could have imagined. Your provost, deans and faculty are working hard to provide you with high-quality instruction, our staff are thinking creatively about how we assist you and deliver services remotely, and you have all risen to the challenge of continuing your education despite the obstacles you face. We are proud of your resiliency, and we strive to enhance your remote experience and sense of community until we can all return to the beautiful campus we all love.

While we are apart, the Mizzou community has mobilized in important ways. Our outstanding medical and research teams – both human and veterinary – rose to the occasion to address the statewide COVID-19 testing shortfall. With the most recent crises of medical equipment shortages and foodbank demands, our students and other members of the Mizzou family have jumped in to help by using 3-D printing technologies.

These are only a few examples just in the last two weeks. I expect these incredible acts of community to continue, and I know you will help us tell those stories that demonstrate the Tiger spirit.

For those of you who already know me, you know I enjoy engaging with students. I will reach out, remotely initially, and then in-person. I want to hear your innovative ideas and solutions. And I know you will have many. In the meantime, please email any initial ideas to president@umsystem.edu with the subject line: Student Ideas for Mun Choi.

Our students are the heartbeat of Mizzou, and we have watched you chart a ground-breaking future for this university and our state. You continue the legacy of 300,000 Tigers who came before you, with leadership and tenacity.

The Tiger spirit is real and it continues in you as you work through this unprecedented challenge of isolation amid a global pandemic. I encourage each of you to virtually reach out to each other for your own sense of community, see to your own self-care and mental health, and know that we are here for you in Columbia, we will be here for you throughout this ordeal, and we anxiously await the return of Mizzou’s heartbeat.

MIZ!

Sincerely,

Mun Y. Choi

Interim Chancellor, University of Missouri

President, UM System