2016 was a good year to be a Tiger. The Mizzou family earned sports championships and major academic honors. We celebrated traditions and milestones. We welcomed new leaders and smart students. We reaffirmed our values and gave back to people in need. We made strides toward making our campus even more beautiful and more welcoming — a place we’re always proud to call home. Take a look at just a few 2016 Mizzou accomplishments.

We won big.

J’den Cox, a senior psychology major, won a bronze medal in wrestling at the 2016 Olympic games in Rio. Photo by Shane Epping

Mizzou athletes triumphed on the mat, the court and the field. Senior wrestler J’den Cox followed his second NCAA championship win in April with an Olympic bronze medal in August. In November, the Mizzou women’s volleyball team captured the Tigers’ second Southeastern Conference championship and junior Karissa Schweizer won the NCAA Cross Country Championship — the first Tiger to earn the honor since 1955 and only Mizzou woman to win in NCAA history.

We were jolly good fellows.

Kevin Bird


While majoring in biology and philosophy, undergraduate researcher Kevin Bird earned both a Fulbright award and a National Science Foundation research fellowship. Photo by Maggie Teson.

High-performing students raked in top fellowships in 2016. The National Science Foundation awarded 14 graduate research fellowships to current and recent Mizzou students, providing funding for graduate school. A record 10 Mizzou students were chosen for grants from the U.S. government’s Fulbright Program for international education. And junior Maria Kalaitzandonakes earned the nationally competitive Harry S Truman Scholarship for dedication to public service.

We made magic on stage and on screen.

Kevin Ross

Kevin Ross, BJ ’87, edits Stranger Things, the Netflix show about a group of bike-riding, monster-fighting kids.

True Son Jon Hamm, BA ’93, won the Golden Globe for best performance by an actor in a TV series for his portrayal of Mad Men protagonist Don Draper. He shared the golden glow with Chad Hamilton, BA ’98, executive producer of USA’s Mr. Robot, which won best TV series. Editor Kevin Ross, BJ ’87, amassed new fans when his Netflix show Stranger Things became an instant cult hit. And Lacretta Ross, BA ’03, made her Broadway debut in the musical comedy DISASTER!

We had our biggest summer yet.

Two young women talking while eating burgers.

Students Alyssa Ferrera and Huong Truong chat at an end-of-summer cookout. Photo by Morgan Lieberman

More Tigers than ever before stuck around for this year’s summer session. Nearly 13,700 students took courses in summer 2016, raising undergraduate enrollment 4.7 percent and online enrollment 11.8 percent from the previous summer. In fall 2016 we greeted the sixth-largest student body in the university’s 177-year history — 33,266 Tigers — and marked our third-highest retention rate, with 85.7 percent of last year’s freshmen coming back for more Mizzou.

We caught ’em all.

Cell phone, hand and Pokemon.

Mizzou’s campus became a hot spot for Pokémon Go players. Photo illustration by Josh Nichols and Nicholas Benner

During the summer, the raging popularity of the Pokémon Go augmented-reality game brought Pokénthusiasts to campus in droves, and we helped them out with a map of Pokéstops. By winter we were luring guests of all sorts through a new visitors site, with stunning 360-degree campus views, real tour guides and even a virtual-reality feature. It’s almost like being here.

We set a fundraising record.

Jimi Cook, Nancy Thompson and Bill Thompson in hard hats.

Donors Bill and Nancy Thompson view a rendering of the Thompson Regenerative Orthopaedics Laboratory while on a tour of new construction in MU’s Missouri Orthopaedic Institute, with Jimi Cook (left), director of orthopaedic research. Photo by Rob Hill

Nearly 44,000 alumni and friends set a record in fiscal year 2016 by donating more than $170 million to Mizzou. This unprecedented generosity surpassed the previous record of $164.5 million set in 2014 and was $5 million more than MU’s fundraising goal for the year. Gifts large and small supported students, faculty, programs and buildings across campus, adding momentum to the $1.3 billion Mizzou: Our Time to Lead campaign.

We made our campus more inclusive.

Stephanie Shonekan with students from the Mizzou gospel choir.

Stephanie Shonekan, chair of black studies, speaks at an event featuring student performances and a discussion with journalist Marc Lamont Hill. Shonekan created and moderates the new Citizenship@Mizzou program. Photo by Shane Epping

In fall 2016 we launched Citizenship@Mizzou, a two-hour interactive orientation program during which new students explored Tiger values and immersed themselves in the multifaceted Mizzou community. Sessions were characterized by live music from the house band Talking Drum and lively discussions led by popular professors. College of Arts and Science faculty approved a new three-hour diversity-intensive course requirement for undergraduate students and initiated the African American Experience in Missouri lectures series. We also welcomed guest speakers Diane Nash, Marc Lamont Hill and Spike Lee.

We celebrated big birthdays.

Truman the Tiger mascot in a party hat.

Truman joins the Student Center party celebrating his 30th birthday. Photo by Morgan Lieberman

Mizzou mascot Truman the Tiger turned 30 in September. As our favorite Tiger embraced a more grownup lifestyle, the Mizzou family celebrated with a party in the Student Center, a mascot alumni reunion and lots of hugs. Mizzou biochemistry professor emeritus Boyd O’Dell marked a bigger milestone, turning 100 years old in October. He continues to research the effects of zinc deficiency on cell function.

We built and rebuilt.

People with giant scissors cutting a ribbon.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, BA ’78, JD ’81, and College of Engineering Dean Elizabeth Loboa cut a ribbon suspended between two hovering drones during a ceremony celebrating completion of Lafferre Hall renovations. Photo by Rob Hill

In December the MU College of Engineering celebrated completion of renovation on the 1935 and 1944 sections of Lafferre Hall, part of a building overhaul launched in spring 2015. Other major construction projects underway this year include a four-story addition to the Missouri Orthopaedic Institute; a six-story MU School of Medicine Patient-Centered Care Learning Center; a two-level Veterinary Medicine ambulatory teaching facility; and Stewart Hall renovations.

We earned accolades for scholarly work.

Roger de la Torre

Roger de la Torre, associate professor of surgery and director of the MU Biodesign and Innovation Program, has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.

Professors made headlines close to home and oversees in 2016. Kattesh Katti, Curators Professor of Radiology and Physics, was named India’s Person of the Year in Science. Glen Cameron, the Maxine Wilson Gregory Chair in Journalism Research, received the Southeastern Conference’s Faculty Achievement Award. English professor Aliki Barnstone became poet laureate of Missouri. And Roger de la Torre, section chief of bariatric surgery at MU Health Care, was named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.

We heralded new leaders.

Kevin McDonald

Kevin McDonald is the UM System’s new chief diversity officer. Photo by Nicholas Benner

Jesse Hall filled with fresh faces in 2016. Jim Sterk became Mizzou’s new director of athletics. Pelema Morrice was named vice provost for enrollment management. We welcomed new deans: Patrice Delafontaine for the School of Medicine, Kathryn Chval for the College of Education and Ajay Vinzé for the Trulaske College of Business. We introduced new vice chancellors: Marshall Stewart for extension and engagement and Patty Haberberger for human resources. Kevin McDonald joined the UM System as its first chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer and also serves as Mizzou’s interim vice chancellor. Our new UM System president, Mun Choi, takes over from interim president Mike Middleton March 1, 2017. In national leadership, alumnus Tim Kaine, BA ’79, became the first Mizzou alumnus chosen as a major political party’s candidate for vice president.

We gave back.

Dancers jump around together during Power Hour at MizzouThon. Leadership members and morale captains threw around glow sticks for dancers to make glasses, bracelets and necklaces out of.

Tigers take to the dance floor during the March MizzouThon 13.1-hour dance marathon. Students raised for $276,000 for pediatric patients and their families. Photo by Tanzi Propst

Tiger volunteers had a big year. In the 2015-16 academic year, 1,868 students traveled on 158 Mizzou Alternative Breaks trips and performed 43,000 hours of service. During the 2016 MizzouThon dance marathon fundraiser, more than 1,000 dancers raised a record $276,000 for MU Women and Children’s Hospital pediatric patients and their families. The Mizzou Alumni Association held its first Day of Service community volunteerism event, adding more options for the 12,058 alumni who volunteered for MAA activities last year. The 2016 Homecoming blood drive amassed 4,374 units of blood. Sophomore Trent Grimshaw donated bone marrow to a stranger. Staff member Doris Eagle distributed eyeglasses to low-resource people in Mexico. And professor Joseph Erb led young Cherokees on a journey along the Trail of Tears.

Thanks for fall you do, Tigers. Let’s have an even better 2017.