One half chanted “Miz,” the other half, “zou.”
The chants echoed through the Hearnes Center on Saturday afternoon as students graduating from MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources awaited their moment to cross the stage and receive their diplomas.
Nearly 300 graduates received degrees at CAFNR’s graduation ceremony. The School of Natural Resources held its graduation separately Saturday night at Jesse Auditorium.
Gov. Matt Blunt, who was met with polite applause and a sprinkling of “boos,” gave this year’s convocation address. In his speech, he stressed the importance of agriculture to the state and asked graduates to consider what their contributions to their communities will be.
“There truly is only one University of Missouri,” he said. “Being the state’s premier tax-funded public institution means citizens of Missouri have made an investment in you so you can better benefit society. I hope you better society with all you’ve learned at this great school.”
Citing recent technological advances in life sciences, biotechnology and ethanol for fuel, Blunt said the agriculture industry in Missouri is booming.
“Our state is at the very center of the agriculture revolution,” he said. “It’s an exciting time to be in the agriculture industry; it’s an exciting time to be in the state of Missouri; and it’s an exciting time to be a University of Missouri graduate.”
During the ceremony, CAFNR Dean Thomas Payne and MU Chancellor Brady Deaton thanked Blunt for his support of the school through proposed Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative funding. Most of the originally proposed $175 million in funding for MU got cut from the plan, but $24 million for plant sciences centers for MU’s auxiliary programs managed by CAFNR remains.
“I have a great appreciation for what Gov. Blunt has done for education, particularly agriculture education,” Deaton said.
Payne also joked with graduates throughout the ceremony and thanked the graduates’ families for pushing the graduates to succeed.
“Thank you for trusting these young people with us,” he said. “How many of you are graduating? I see a few of you with questioning looks on your faces. Do you still have parking tickets to pay? Remember, I’m not the one preventing you from graduating — your remaining fees are.”
Prior to the presentation of graduates, Associate Dean Paul Vaughn encouraged the audience to “get loud.”
“But, please, only applaud if you’re proud of a student, or if you’re proud to be done paying tuition.”