award-winning teacherKemper Winner
Billie Cunningham is one of five recipients of a 2017 William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence. The School of Accountancy teaching professor is one of the first faculty members students encounter, and her course in principles of accounting lays the foundation upon which students build their careers. For more than 20 years, Cunningham has taught classes of approximately 400 students. She was among the first teachers to use clickers, an audience response system, to motivate student learning, maintain their interest and identify areas where they don't fully understand a topic. She also maintains a high level of energy in the classroom by using educational videos, in-class demonstrations of business practices and real-world examples. “The  Kemper,” established by the William T. Kemper Foundation in 1991 with a $500,000 gift to honor outstanding teachers, comes with a $10,000 award.

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Attitude of Gratitude
College-bound high schoolers always appreciate scholarship money. But the connection is special when the generosity extends from Tigers who came before them. That’s the case with the Mizzou Alumni Association’s Mizzou Alumni Scholars Program, which in 2016–17 awarded more than $500,000 in scholarships.

“All four of my grandparents attended Mizzou, some of my aunts and uncles, cousins, and my mother,” says Maridan Chaney, a scholarship recipient from Springfield, Missouri. “My one wish is to repay [scholarship donors] in some form throughout my lifetime.”

Sarah Fisher, a scholarship recipient from Lake Ozark, Missouri, agrees. “When I toured the campus, I loved the environment and the people I met, and I wanted to call this place home for the next four years,” she says. “Without scholarships, I would not be able to attend college at all.”

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student portraitExtra-exceptional Graduate
While sporting a résumé already bursting with scholarly publications, MU graduate student Alice Cheng won one of the highly selective 2016 Chinese Government Awards for Outstanding Self-financed Students Abroad. The award recognizes 501 top Chinese doctoral students studying internationally without government funding. Of that group, Cheng, MBA, PhD ’17, was one of 10 selected as “extra-outstanding.” She specializes in corporate PR disasters and what corporations say and do in their wake. That’s crisis communications: What were the reactions of the company, its customers, news media and social media? How do these players affect one another’s thinking? How can companies mitigate damage? And how does one measure these complicated relationships in a useful way?

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The New Diversification
When investing for retirement, the old rule of thumb was that younger people with lower incomes should invest in post-tax programs, such as Roth IRAs, while older people with higher incomes did best with tax-deferred programs such as 401(k) and IRAs. New research by Michael O’Doherty of MU’s Trulaske College of Business suggests most people should do both. “For retirement contributions, a good rule of thumb is to invest 20 percent plus your age into traditional, tax-deferred accounts. So, a single 40-year-old investor with at least $40,000 of taxable income would put 60 percent of their retirement contributions in a traditional IRA or 401(k)-type plan.”

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ancient spine bonesEarliest Human-like Spine
About 3.3 million years ago, a toddler now known as Selam walked — upright on two legs — in what is today Ethiopia. Carol Ward, professor of pathology and anatomical sciences at MU, helped analyze this remarkably well-preserved fossil of a human ancestor. Scans of Selam’s spine showed the characteristic rib-to-lower back joint transition found in other ancient human relatives. However, this fossil is the first to show that our earliest ancestors had just twelve thoracic vertebrae and twelve pairs of ribs, which is fewer than in most apes, she says. “Selam has provided us the first glimpse into how our early ancestors’ spines were organized.”

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Briefly
• The Fiske Guide to Colleges lists Mizzou as a “Best Buy” for 2018, referring to the university as a “school on the rise.” The guide’s designation considers MU’s cost, academic programs, college life and graduation rate — 69 percent over six years.

• MU’s School of Law, Harry S Truman School of Public Affairs, and College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources welcome new leaders. Law Dean Lyrissa Barnett Lidsky comes to MU from the University of Florida. Lael Keiser, professor of public policy and administration at MU, will direct the Truman school and coordinate a strategic plan to create opportunities for research, education and outreach in public affairs. Agriculture Dean Christopher R. Daubert, who hails from North Carolina State University, will serve as vice chancellor and dean of agriculture.

• In 2017, Gov. Eric Greitens appointed three Missourians to the University of Missouri System Board of Curators, which governs campuses in Columbia, Kansas City, Rolla and St. Louis. Curators serve 6-year terms: Darryl M. Chatman, BS ’97, MS ’01, MS ’07, JD ’08, of O’Fallon is general counsel for the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Jamie L. Farmer, BS BA ’07, of Jefferson City is president of Capital Sand Proppants. Jeffrey L. Layman of Springfield is Principal of BKD Wealth Advisors.

• MU set a record during fiscal year 2017 by raising more than $121 million in cash gifts. Overall, including pledges, the University raised nearly $152 million. The Mizzou: Our Time to Lead campaign, launched in 2015, has reached $905 million of its $1.3 billion goal. See Page 16 for a more detailed recap.

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Scoreboard
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— Mizzou’s ranking in the Learfield Directors’ Cup, which measures the cumulative success of intercollegiate athletics programs. Top 10 finishes in wrestling, women’s indoor track and field, and men’s swimming and diving fueled the school-record mark.

27.63 — Mizzou swimmer Hannah Stevens’s winning backstroke time, a championship meet record, at the NCAA Championships June 29 in Indianapolis.

$50.4 million — Record fundraising total for Mizzou Athletics in 2016–17. This beats the previous record of $45.7 million raised in 2011–12, Mizzou’s first year in the Southeastern Conference.

26 — Former Tiger sports stars who participated in the Mizzou basketball alumni game, June 22, at Mizzou Arena. Hosted by Laurence Bowers, BA ’12, M Ed ’13, the fundraising event benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbia included Melvin Booker, Bus ’95; Kareem Rush, AFNR ’02; Rickey Paulding, BA ’04; and DeMarre Carroll, BGS ’08.

To read more MIZZOU magazine stories online, visit mizzou.com.