As students, staff and alumni celebrate the opening of MU’s home football season Saturday, another group of people will gather to remember a man who had his own impact upon the university.
Mick Deaver was a 1966 graduate of MU who began working for the MU Police Department in 1972. In February 1980, at age 38, Deaver died in an automobile crash. At the time, he was the department’s associate director.
“In September of 1980, students, faculty and staff petitioned the Board of Curators to dedicate a street in memory of Mick,” said Sharon Baysinger, Mick’s wife.
On Saturday, Mick Deaver Drive — between Stadium Boulevard and what is now Champion Drive — is being rededicated and renamed Mick Deaver Boulevard. The MU Athletic Department is sponsoring the public ceremony.
According to the 2004 MU Campus Master Plan, the drive was straightened and improved as part of the Paige Sports Arena construction. A sidewalk was added to the drive’s east side, in addition to roadway and sidewalk lighting.
“The athletic department will unveil a plaque at that location that bears the likeness of Mick and explains who he was,” Baysinger said.
Release of 250 balloons in memory of Deaver is also planned for the ceremony, she said.
“It’s a nice gesture on their part,” said Shawn Deaver, Mick Deaver’s son.
The university has found other ways to honor Deaver’s memory over the years. Every year, the Mick Deaver Award, which includes a $500 check, recognizes a staff member who exemplifies Deaver’s major concern for fostering good relations with students.
According to a 1980 Missourian article written at the time of his death, Deaver once said he wanted students to look on the police force as more of a service organization than as enforcers of the law.
“Mick really bridged the gap between police and students and made them able to work together,” Baysinger said. “He really opened up that relationship and was an advocate for them.”
Baysinger said her husband was thrilled to work for MU, even though he was often recruited by other places because of his expertise and training.
“He was trained by the FBI and the Secret Service and had consulted with the NFL on crowd control,” she said.