Skip to main content
Skip to navigation

May 6, 2010 Volume 31, No. 30

A tip of the hat


Like the thousands of new MU graduates next weekend, the statue of Beetle Bailey in front of the Reynolds Alumni Center will be wearing a mortarboard for commencement weekend. The metal head-coverings were created by Danny Roberts and Steve Lohmeyer, master sheet metal workers in Campus Facilities-Planning, Design & Construction. Karlan Seville photo

Campus gears up for commencement weekend


Beetle Bailey never experienced the thrill of graduation at Mizzou, but his bronze likeness seated in front of the Reynolds Alumni Center will be getting into the commencement mood in a few weeks. MU alumnus Mort Walker created the ambition-challenged cartoon character while he was a student here in the 1940s. The statue is one of visitors’ favorite venues for snapping a photo during campus visits.

When this year’s crop of new graduates and their families throng campus during commencement May 15 they will find that Beetle and another MU icon, the tiger statue at Tiger Plaza, will be sporting tasseled mortarboards. Thanks to staff at Campus Facilities, they will provide a fun photo opportunity for the many MU graduates. 

It might be a little out-of-the-ordinary preparation for commencement, but Campus Facilities staff always play a big role in getting campus ready to celebrate the milestone that is college graduation. Administrators from Campus Facilities begin touring the entire campus in early April to see what should be done to prepare for graduation day. There are trees to be trimmed, flowers to be planted, entryways to wax. As the date nears, tours are weekly and then finally, daily.

Last year, on an April tour, someone mentioned: “Wouldn’t it be cool if the tiger had a mortar board for graduation day?” It couldn’t happen for 2009, but this year, indeed it will have its own custom-made, sheet-metal mortarboard that is a perfect fit, thanks to Danny Roberts and Steve Lohmeyer, master sheet metal workers in Campus Facilities-Planning, Design & Construction.

“The alumni association and the development office liked it so much that they asked if Beetle could have one, too,” says Gary Ward, associate vice chancellor-facilities. “Graduation is a big day for everyone — the graduate, parents, grandparents — as well as on-campus friends, faculty and staff. This is just one way we can let our students know that the entire MU campus celebrates their achievement.”

During commencement weekend, MU will award 5,532 degrees, including 4,015 bachelor’s degrees, 931 master’s degrees, 258 doctorates, 101 medical degrees, 64 veterinary medicine degrees, 139 law degrees, and 24 education specialist degrees.

“The University of Missouri prides itself on producing well-prepared graduates who lead and innovate in their professions,” says Ann Korschgen, vice provost for enrollment. “By doing so, our graduates are following the example of our many distinguished alumni as they work to improve the state of Missouri, the United States and the world.”

MU will honor Leon Russell and Eugenie Scott, two of its graduates who have dedicated their lives to research and education, with honorary degrees at the honors ceremony on Saturday, May 15. 

Russell, a faculty member at Texas A&M University and the first American elected president of the World Veterinary Association, received his bachelor’s degree in animal science and doctor of veterinary medicine degree from MU. He has researched and taught subjects such as public health, toxicology and zoonotic diseases, which are illnesses that affects both humans and animals, such as rabies. His focus in zoonotic diseases led to the development of an oral vaccine that helped control coyote and fox rabies in Texas. 

Scott received her doctorate in anthropology from MU. She is a researcher, educator and author who has spent her career defending science and how it is taught in schools. As the executive director of the National Center for Science Education, she has sought to promote accuracy and improve the public understanding of evolution by mediating between those dedicated to religion and science and recognizing a relationship between them.

Notable speakers at this year’s commencement ceremonies include U.S. Sen.Christopher Bond, who  will speak at the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources ceremony at 6 p.m., Saturday, May 15 at Jesse Auditorium.