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More than 2,300 Graduates to Receive Degrees During MU’s Winter Commencement Ceremonies

University officials will award honorary degree to Larry McMullen

Dec. 10, 2013

Story Contact(s):
Christian Basi, BasiC@missouri.edu, 573-882-4430

By Jerett Rion

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Beginning Friday, Dec. 13 and continuing through Saturday, Dec. 14, more than 2,300 students will receive degrees during winter commencement exercises at the University of Missouri. University officials also will honor lawyer and MU alumnus Larry McMullen with an honorary degree at the Honors Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 14.

McMullen, who graduated from MU at the top of his law class in 1959, has worked as a lawyer in the Kansas City area for more than 40 years and is a Navy veteran who served on a mine sweeper in the Pacific Ocean. In addition to his law career, McMullen has been an advocate for the Kansas City community serving on various boards of directors for hospitals in the area.

“The University of Missouri is proud of the achievements of our graduates and confident that they will continue their success out of the classroom and into the workforce,” said Ann Korschgen, vice provost for enrollment at MU. “We know that MU prepares our students not only for their careers, but also for engaged and successful lives.”

During commencement weekend, MU will award 2,436 degrees, including 1,756 bachelor’s degrees, 498 master’s degrees, 157 doctorates, 7 law degrees, and 18 education specialist degrees. (Some students will receive more than one degree.) More than 300 students are receiving their degrees following completion of online degree programs.

Each school and college holds separate ceremonies for commencement, and many invite notable speakers to address the graduates. Phil Bradley, MU alumnus, former Major League Baseball player and current assistant coach for the MU softball team, will speak at the College of Human Environmental Sciences ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 14.

Other speakers at this year’s commencement ceremonies include:

  • Don Flora, founder and former president of Flora & Associates, Inc., will speak at the College of Engineering ceremony on Friday, Dec. 13;
  • Harold Williamson, vice chancellor of the University of Missouri Health System, will speak at the School of Nursing ceremony on Friday, Dec. 13;
  • Walter Bargen, who was the first Poet Laureate of Missouri, will speak at the School of Natural Resources ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 14.

NOTE: A detailed schedule of events and biographical information of honorary degree recipients are attached. For more information on the commencement ceremonies and Columbia accommodations, please visit http://commencement.missouri.edu.

MU Winter Commencement
Schedule of Events

NOTE: Students in the School of Social Work will participate in the College of Human Environmental Sciences ceremony. The School of Natural Resources in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources will hold a separate commencement ceremony. The schools of law, medicine and veterinary medicine do not hold commencement ceremonies in December.

Friday, Dec. 13

Online Commencement
Website: online.missouri.edu/commencement

Sinclair School of Nursing
1 p.m.
Jesse Auditorium, Jesse Hall
Speaker: Harold Williamson Jr., vice chancellor of the University of Missouri Health System

Trulaske College of Business
2 p.m.
Hearnes Center
Speaker: Stuart Bascomb, MU alumnus and founder of QualSight, Inc, the largest plan manager of laser vision correction surgery in the U.S.

School of Journalism
3:30 p.m.
Jesse Auditorium, Jesse Hall
Speaker: Margaret Engel, MU alumna and director of the Alicia Patterson Journalism Foundation, which awards grants to investigative reporters and photographers across the globe in the name of Alicia Patterson, the founder of Newsday.

College of Engineering
6 p.m.
Jesse Auditorium, Jesse Hall
Alumnus Speaker: Don Flora, founder and former president of Flora & Associates, Inc.

Saturday, Dec. 14

Honors Ceremony
8:30 a.m.
Jesse Auditorium, Jesse Hall
Speaker: Larry McMullen, honorary degree recipient

College of Human Environmental Sciences
11:30 a.m.
Jesse Auditorium, Jesse Hall
Alumnus Speaker: Phil Bradley, former Major League Baseball player and assistant softball coach for the MU softball team

College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
12:30 p.m.
Hearnes Center

School of Health Professions
2 p.m.
Speaker: Ellis Ingram, senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion, MU School of Medicine

College of Arts and Sciences
3:30 p.m.
Hearnes Center
Speaker: Justin Walensky, professor of chemistry at MU

School of Natural Resources
5 p.m.
Jesse Auditorium, Jesse Hall
Speaker: Walter Bargen, former Poet Laureate of Missouri

Graduate School
6:30 p.m.
Hearnes Center
Speakers: MU Provost Brian Foster and MU Interim Dean of the Graduate School Leona Rubin.

Larry McMullen Biography

For the majority of his life, Larry McMullen has been a successful trial lawyer with Husch Blackwell in Kansas City, Mo. Throughout his 44 years with the firm, McMullen has watched the firm grow from employing 10 attorneys to more than 600.

McMullen, who grew up in Kansas City, Mo., attended the University of Missouri in 1950 on a Naval ROTC Scholarship. During his undergraduate career at MU, he served as president of the Sigma Chi fraternity for three semesters and was recognized by Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership fraternity.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in political science from MU in 1953, McMullen served in the Navy for three years as a line officer on mine sweepers in the Pacific Ocean.

After his service in the Navy, McMullen returned to MU to work toward his law degree. After his first year in law school, McMullen was top in his class and was named as editor-in-chief of the Missouri Law Review. In 1959, McMullen graduated first in his class and was named outstanding graduate of the Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity.

Shortly after graduation, McMullen joined the Husch Blackwell law firm in Kansas City, Mo. During his 44 years with the firm, he has been recognized by his peers in Best Lawyers in America and was elected to the American College of Trial Lawyers in 1979, an honor that only 1 percent of trial lawyers in the United States receive.

In addition to his outstanding career as a lawyer, McMullen has been a community advocate, serving on the board of directors for the Diastole Scholar Center on Hospital Hill, an off-site event facility that enhances endeavors at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Powell Gardens, and Saint Luke’s Home Healthcare and Hospice.

As an alumnus, McMullen has given back to MU in numerous ways, including serving as an adjunct professor at the MU School of Law.

“McMullen has always made time for the law school and our students,” said Lawrence Dessem, former dean of the MU School of Law. “He travels from Kansas City to volunteer in the law school’s trial practice courses. He not only teaches during regular class hours, but stays afterword to talk with students about the course, becoming a lawyer, and the legal profession.”

He also has served as vice chair of the Mizzou One Planning Campaign, and co-chair of the For All We Call Mizzou Billion Dollar Campaign. He received a Law School Citation of Merit, the highest award given by the MU School of Law recognizing alumni for their service, in 1998 and the Distinguished Service Award from the Mizzou Alumni Association in 2005, which is the highest honor alumni can receive.

McMullen and his wife, Marilyn, who graduated from MU in 1954, have two children who graduated from the MU School of Law: Michael, who graduated in 1985, and Andrew, who graduated in 1990.

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