A year of Mizzou magic

13 ways Tigers were awesome in 2013.

1. We made a Harlem Shake video

Mizzou had to get in on the biggest video fad of 2013. Truman can’t resist an opportunity to shake his tail. Or wear a gold lamé vest.

2. We weathered the thundersnow

Students pushing car in snow
On Feb. 21 Mizzou was hit by a thundersnow storm, a rare meteorological phenomenon in which thunder and lighting accompany unusually heavy snowfall. The campus was closed for only the seventh time in its 174-year history. Impressive snowball fights and photo ops ensued.

3. We fed and clothed people

Suit and tie close up
Mizzou hosted prominent agricultural scholars working to feed the world at a meeting for the President Obama-appointed Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (Brady Deaton is the chair). CAFNR and journalism research centers partnered to help food pantries in rural Missouri. And Mizzou followed up 2012’s Tiger Pantry opening with Truman's Closet, a professional-clothing lending service.

4. We created a more inclusive campus

Shane looking in a mirror
We welcomed the most racially diverse freshman class in Mizzou’s history. Disability Services hired Mizzou’s first deaf services coordinator. The MU Board of Curators approved employee benefits for domestic partners. A genderqueer student was a finalist for Homecoming king. And one student shared his personal story of transformation, inspiring support for Tigers of all stripes.

5. We honored legendary education advocates

Arvarh E. Strickland
The Mizzou family lost two pioneer educators. Arvarh E. Strickland, MU’s first tenure-track black professor, a renowned historian and a lifelong champion for education, died April 30. He was 82. Earlier this year Mizzou faculty and staff released a documentary film about alumnus and local education trailblazer Eliot Battle, and Columbia opened a new high school named for Battle’s late wife, Muriel. Battle died June 11. He was 88.

6. We took on major rebuilding and beautification projects

Life-size sculpture of two women
Students are living large. Residential Life reopened Mark Twain Hall after $21.7 million in renovations, and the Board of Curators approved plans for major upgrades to Dobbs Group residence and dining halls. Meanwhile, the Museum of Archaeology and the Museum of Anthropology moved to a new museum megaplex at Mizzou North, making way for renovations of buildings on Francis Quadrangle.

7. We quit smoking

Smoke free truman illustration
Mizzou became a smoke-free campus July 1. Tigers now can breathe fresh air on all university property, inside and outside. (Need help kicking the habit? Check out Mizzou’s resources.)

8. We dominated in sports

Coach Wayne Kreklow and the Mizzou volleyball team celebrate winning MU's first SEC title
In the university's second year of Southeastern Conference membership, Mizzou's undefeated volleyball team claimed our first SEC championship title. Mizzou's football team played for the SEC championship and finished the regular season 11-2, earning a spot in the Cotton Bowl. The softball team, led by Chelsea Thomas, finished runner-up in the SEC and won its fifth-straight NCAA regional. And five Mizzou wrestlers earned All-American honors at the NCAA championships.

9. We graciously accepted gifts

Cottrell and Kay Fox
Our donors were extra-generous this year. Mizzou received gifts including $5 million for cancer research and companion-animal programs, $1.57 million for an endowed chair position in law, $1.4 million for the Mizzou New Music Initiative, $8.3 million for athletics-facilities improvements, $2 million for sustainable-energy research, $4.5 million for patient-centered outcomes research and $1 million for veterans' scholarships. Thank you!

10. We survived a zombie invasion

Blond zombie girl
Mizzou hosted its first Zombie Week, complete with an academic conference and a filmmaking competition. 2013 was a big year for other Tiger filmmakers too. Journalism student Ankur Singh made a documentary about the state of education in the U.S., and two Tiger-made films about the Joplin tornado were nominated for regional Emmy awards. (One of them won!)

11. We made huge research breakthroughs

Abstract energy art
Mizzou researchers were busy this year
. They discovered a cancer treatment with no side effects, a gene responsible for laziness, an invisible force field that stops oil spills, a scientific basis for the principle of “brothers before significant others,” a 1.4 million-year-old human hand bone fossil and even the key to happiness. Mizzou also hosted the Missouri Tech Expo and the International Conference on Condensed Nuclear Matter Science.

12. We gave the Deatons a big sendoff — and lots of hugs

In June Brady Deaton announced his plans to retire on Nov. 15, following nine years as chancellor and 24 years at Mizzou. He and his wife, Anne, will stay in Columbia as he heads a new institute for international development. In October the Deatons were honored as Homecoming grand marshals, and in November the Mizzou family showered our beloved Deatons with affection and surprises.

13. We found a new chancellor — and he's pretty cool

Interim Chancellor Steve Owens, left, and UM System President Tim Wolfe applaud for R. Bowen Loftin.
In December we met Mizzou's new leader, outgoing Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin. He has expertise in engineering and physics. He spends a lot of time on Facebook and Twitter. He has been known to dance (Gangnam/Aggie Style, Bernie, Dougie) at pep rallies. He has a bushy mustache and a sizable bowtie collection. We think he’ll fit right in. Loftin starts Feb. 1, 2014.

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