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More Than 2,500 Degrees to Be Granted at MU Commencement Ceremonies

Former Columbia Mayor Darwin Hindman to be awarded honorary degree

Dec. 16, 2014

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

By Fran Webber

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Thousands of students will don caps and gowns to celebrate the culmination of their academic achievements during the University of Missouri commencement ceremonies set to begin on Friday, Dec. 19 and end on Sunday, Dec. 21. MU will award 2,570 degrees, including 1,916 bachelor’s degrees, 474 master’s degrees, 152 doctorates, 7 law degrees, and 21 education specialist degrees. The university also will recognize 276 honors graduates and present former Columbia Mayor Darwin Hindman with an honorary degree.

“During commencement, we celebrate the achievements of our students and their hard work over the last several years,” said Ann Korschgen, vice provost for enrollment at MU. “The University of Missouri is confident that our graduates have much to contribute to the state, nation and world. We look forward to watching their success in their chosen fields.”

During the Honors Ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 20, the University of Missouri will present Hindman with an honorary degree. Hindman will address MU honors graduates during the ceremony.

As mayor of Columbia, Hindman advocated for Missouri parks and recreation programs. He is recognized nationally as a leader in the design of community physical activity programs. Hindman served five mayoral terms spanning from 1995 to 2010, during which he established the Mayor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Health; the Mayor’s Race Relations Task Force; and the Mayor’s Bike, Walk or Wheel to Work Week.

Each school and college holds ceremonies for commencement. This year, a live stream of ceremonies held in the Missouri Theatre will be shown at overflow seating located in Keller Auditorium, which is in the Geological Sciences building. The live stream also may be viewed here: https://new.livestream.com/mizzou/commencementFS2014https://new.livestream.com/mizzou/commencementFS2014.

Many ceremonies include addresses to the graduates from notable speakers. Some speakers at this year’s commencement ceremonies include:

  • John Haskins, University of Missouri School of Journalism alumnus and managing editor of magazines at The New York Times, will speak at the School of Journalism ceremony on Friday, Dec. 19.
  • Hank Foley, executive vice president of academic affairs for the UM System and senior vice chancellor for research and graduate studies at MU, will speak at the ceremony for the College of Human Environmental Sciences on Saturday, Dec. 20.
  • MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin will speak at the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 20.
  • Bill Bryan, director of Missouri State Parks, will speak at the School of Natural Resources ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 20.

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

MU Fall 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 as well as the College of Education do not hold commencement ceremonies in December.

Friday, December 19
Online Commencement
Website: http://online.missouri.edu/commencement

Sinclair School of Nursing
1 p.m.
Missouri Theatre
Speaker: Judith Miller, dean of the Sinclair School of Nursing

Trulaske College of Business
2 p.m.
Hearnes Center
Speaker: Wendy Henry, CPA and managing partner of St. Louis & Decatur BKD, LLP

School of Journalism
3:30 p.m.
Missouri Theatre
Speaker: John Haskins, B.J. ’85 and managing editor of magazines at The New York Times

College of Engineering
6 p.m.
Missouri Theatre

Saturday, December 20
Honors Ceremony
8:30 a.m.
Missouri Theatre
Speaker: Darwin Hindman, former mayor of Columbia

College of Human Environmental Sciences
11:30 a.m.
Missouri Theatre
Speaker: Hank Foley, executive vice president of academic affairs for the UM System and senior vice chancellor for research and graduate studies at MU

College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
12:30 p.m.
Hearnes Center
Speaker: MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin

School of Health Professions
2 p.m.
Missouri Theatre
Speaker: Mitch Wasden, CEO of University Hospital

Graduate Studies
3:30 p.m.
Hearnes Center

School of Natural Resources
5 p.m.
Missouri Theatre
Speaker: Bill Bryan, director of Missouri State Parks

College of Arts and Science
7 p.m.
Hearnes Center
Speaker: Amanda Murdie, associate professor of political science at MU

Sunday, December 21
ROTC Commissioning of Officers
10 a.m.
Crowder Hall, 2nd Floor Foyer


Darwin Hindman, Honorary Degree Recipient

Darwin Hindman has dedicated much of his life to improving the health and quality of Missourians’ lives. Hindman’s efforts have resulted in numerous improvements to Missouri’s parks, trails and alternative transportation initiatives; the creation of city healthy living programs; and measures that have increased the overall economic strength of the city of Columbia and the state of Missouri.

Hindman, a former mayor of Columbia, has been a tireless advocate of Missouri parks and recreation programs and is recognized nationally as a leader in the design of community physical activity programs. Hindman served five terms spanning from 1995 to 2010, during which time he established the Mayor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Health; the Mayor’s Race Relations Task Force; and the Mayor’s Bike, Walk or Wheel to Work Week. He also worked to secure a $22 million federal grant to make Columbia more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly through a pilot project promoting alternative transportation methods. Founder and chairperson of the KATY Trail Coalition, Hindman was instrumental in the creation of the cross-state Katy Trail State Park, a walking and biking trail more than 200 miles long that has become one of the state’s most popular parks.

Hindman has lived in Columbia nearly all his life and has long-standing ties to the University of Missouri. His father, Darwin Hindman Sr., was a professor of physical education at MU. Hindman Jr., an alumnus for more than 50 years, earned degrees in political science and law from the University of Missouri in 1955 and 1961, respectively. He collaborated with the School of Law on many occasions and, for years, wrote a letter as mayor to every student admitted to the law school. His dedication to the University of Missouri is evidenced by the many honors bestowed upon him, which include a Mizzou Alumni Association Faculty-Alumni Award, an MU College of Arts and Science Distinguished Alumni Award and induction into the Order of the Coif at the annual Law Day Awards Ceremony at the MU School of Law.

Hindman, who flew bombers and transport planes during two tours of active duty as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, has a lifelong record of service to his community, state, alma mater and the country, and has received numerous accolades as a result. He was an inaugural inductee into the Missouri Recreation and Parks Hall of Fame and has received the Missouri Bar Association President’s Award, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Active Living by Design Leadership Award and the Governor’s Fitness and Health Leadership Award. In 2009, he received the Leadership for Healthy Communities Award, along with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. He also was recognized in Parade Magazine for his advocacy of alternative transportation and public recreation.

An activist for many decades, Hindman’s persistence and willingness far exceeded expectations and resulted in the success of initiatives that otherwise likely would not exist. The purchase and reconstruction of Stephens Lake Park, now the crown jewel of Columbia’s parks, was approved one month after Hindman’s pointed gesture of drinking a glass of water from the polluted lake in front of television cameras. When he faced political resistance to the Katy Trail project and was told the state lacked the money for such an initiative, he offered to ask private donors to fund restrooms along the trail, an action typical of his style of leadership. Rather than accept a landscape he viewed as limiting of recreation and transportation options, he instead set out to change it and improve the quality of life for Missourians across the state.

Even in retirement, Hindman continues to support many of Columbia’s progressive health policies, such as recycling programs and smoking bans, and is active in political groups and committees across the state. He currently is chairman of a foundation dedicated to extending the Katy Trail to Kansas City, serves as liaison for the Missouri Municipal League to the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Health, is a member of the Environmental Improvement and Energy Resources Authority, and is president of the Missouri Rail Trails Foundation.

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