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Aug. 30, 2012 Volume 34, No. 2

Show your campus pride every day

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Linda Bennett

Reflections from a former ACE fellow

By Linda Bennett

Editor’s note: Linda Bennett, an associate professor in the College of Education, recently concluded a year as a fellow of the American Council of Education (ACE), the major coordinating body for the nation’s higher education institutions. As a fellow, Bennett traveled to dozens of universities and colleges around the world investigating digital media and globalization and their influences on higher education. Her travels gave her greater appreciation for the campus aesthetics and community at the University of Missouri. She has written an essay about it.


As a 2011–12 fellow of the American Council of Education, I came to realize excellence in my own backyard, the University of Missouri. 

The ACE program is a unique and innovative higher education leadership development program that helps prepare senior leaders to serve American colleges and universities. Part of what makes the program special is that we spend extended time on another campus, working directly with that institution’s president. In my case, I gained tremendous value from working with the leaders at the University of North Carolina System, including President Tom Ross and Vice President Suzanne Ortega. 

I now see Mizzou with a different lens, a result of lessons learned from a year of discovering higher education. After visiting more than 35 institutions around the world, I can honestly say that we have one of the most beautiful campuses. I encourage you to walk around campus, smell the flowers and observe the lush greenery. Along the way, thank those that work year-round to make the grounds beautiful and care for our buildings.

On a campus visit to Davidson College in Davidson, N.C., I wore a red jacket as a nod to the college color. People noticed and commented. It was fun to see how pleased they were that I was wearing their “family’s” color. Mizzou’s colors are black and gold. When you wear Mizzou attire, it sends a message that you are proud to be part of this family. I encourage you to try it.

On the University of Florida’s campus, I saw the Gator come to life. Faculty and staff extend their arms forward and move them up and down like the jaws of an alligator. When other fellows and I were rewarded with Gator prizes during an event, we were cheered by people doing the Gator clap. 

It’s important on campus to encourage the community to show school spirit. At MU, we demonstrate that with the M-I-Z, Z-O-U cheer. (By the way, would a tiger or ’gator win in a fight? I guess we’ll have to wait for the Southeastern Conference matchup to find out.) 

Reflections on a year well spent are fine. But it’s better to give back. For the fall and winter semesters, I am the special assistant to the provost’s office and look forward to serving and giving back to the Mizzou community.  

Remember, our Mizzou family is only as good as its members. I hope you will show your commitment to the institution by showing people respect and sharing in the responsibility for the wellbeing of Mizzou. 

There will be difficulties, but that is true of any family. What matters is how we work through tough times. Make your family proud by advancing and advocating for Mizzou.