Natural born True Son

For Missouri native Truman Gouldsmith, choosing Mizzou was hardly a choice at all

July 25, 2022

Sophomore Truman Gouldsmith jokes that with a name like his, people might assume he was born with tiger stripes and that his ancestors are all University of Missouri alumni. The truth is, the Independence, Missouri, native was named after former U.S. president Harry S. Truman (whose namesake just happens to be MU’s loveable mascot, Truman the Tiger).

Read on about how this accounting and economics major found his place in his home state’s university.

So … Truman Gouldsmith?

My parents liked presidential names, and I was going to be named George until two hours before I was born. My mom saw a copy of the biography of Harry S. Truman and decided that she liked that name better. And since it was a president’s name — and we are from Independence — it all made sense. I am a first-generation college student without any other connections to Mizzou. 

Why did you choose Mizzou?

I chose Mizzou because I was admitted to the Cornell Leadership Program (CLP) in the Trulaske College of Business. The CLP provides leadership development and honors-type experiences for students. It also creates a small-scale environment within a big campus, offering opportunities to hear guest speakers, travel and learn from leaders in industry.

What do you enjoy most about Mizzou’s campus?

One of my favorite parts of Mizzou is that I can walk from Mark Twain residence hall to the Student Center or MizzouRec and always see someone I know. With 30,000-plus students, you wouldn’t think that’s possible. But through organizations and activities on campus you get to know so many people. At Mizzou, I’ve been in the Chess Club, on the Homecoming Steering Committee, a member of Alpha Kappa Psi (business fraternity), a CLP class coordinator, a student ambassador for the Trulaske School of Business, and a counselor for Camp Trulaske (new student program).

What is the best advice you’ve received about college?

One of my teachers in high school always told us to “take healthy risks,” meaning to try new things and to get out of your comfort zone in safe ways. Then, in the first lecture of my first accounting class, Professor Chris Prestigiacomo told us to, “Say Yes.” He said, “if someone invites you to play chess, say yes. If someone asks you to study after class, say yes.” I started off my first semester joining the chess club, which led to finding people who wanted to play tennis.

What advice do you have for new Tigers?

There is so much to learn. You must be open to that and not think you know it all. You go from being in school all day in high school, to being in class 3-4 hours per day in college. It’s on you to figure out how to spend that extra time when someone isn’t telling you what to do. Along with how you spend your time, it’s important to learn how to manage your money. If you don’t stay on top of your spending habits, it can get out of control quickly. Mizzou has an Office for Financial Success that offers one-on-one financial counseling, workshops, and other resources. It’s great for learning to manage money during college, but it will also pay off once you graduate and navigate the adult world.

What makes you proud to be a Tiger?

I’m really impressed that at Mizzou we are all on the same team. Everyone is a potential friend and someone you can connect with. I’m a regular at the Starbucks in the Memorial Union and within a few weeks I noticed the employees remembering my name and my usual order. Yes, there are a lot of people at Mizzou, but it is at the same time a close community. I was pretty rigid and uptight in high school but what I’ve learned is that you don’t have to have it all figured out. You are not on your own, but with Mizzou’s help, you have the ability to be in charge of what you want to do.

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