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MU Professor Awarded 2009 Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence

April 7, 2009

Story Contact:  Jeffrey Beeson, (573) 882-9144,

COLUMBIA, Mo. - University of Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton and Commerce Bank Chairman Jim Schatz today awarded one of the 2009 William T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence to Mary Beth Marrs, professor of management in the Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business.

Deaton, Schatz and a group of professors, administrators and staff paid a surprise visit to Marr's classroom to honor her with the Fellowship, which includes a $10,000 award. Fellowships are awarded to five outstanding teachers at the University of Missouri each year.

The William T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence were established in 1991 with a $500,000 gift. Kemper, a 1926 MU graduate, was a well-known civic leader in Kansas City until his death in 1989. His 52-year career in banking included top positions at banks in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. Commerce Bank manages the trust fund.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Please see attached biography for details about Marrs.


Mary Beth Marrs, professor of management

Mary Beth Marrs, who began working at MU in 2000, is committed to giving students real-life experiences and opportunities to excel inside and outside the classroom. She teaches courses in operations management and topics in management in the Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business. She is faculty advisor for Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity, co-director for the Cornell Leadership Program, co-facilitator for a Freshmen Interest Group and faculty adviser for the College of Business Student Council.

"Professor Marrs demonstrates remarkable energy and talent as a mentor, coach, counselor and role model for students," said Thomas Dougherty, Hibbs/Brown Chair of Business and Economics and professor of management. "Students know that she cares about their learning, but also cares about them as individual students. She has spent countless extra hours with her students, discussing not only course material, issues and problems, but also discussing their careers and their lives as students at Mizzou."

Marrs has innovative approaches to her teaching including using Legos to understand issues in production and operations, creating a "Jeopardy" game to help students review materials, and taking her class on field trips to firms to view business operations.

"In the classroom, Dr. Marrs allows students to be actively involved and finds creative ways to incorporate real world examples into the curriculum," said Leah Avila, a former student.

Her excellence in teaching earned her the Kansas City College of Business Alumni Association Teacher of the Year Award, MU's Excellence in Education Award, and Faculty Member of the Year four times. She also has been inducted into the Mystical Seven and received the O'Brien Excellence in Teaching Award.

"Mary Beth is one of the warmest, most personable, and most caring individuals we know," said Bruce Walker, dean of the Trulaske College of Business. "There are numerous instances in which Mary Beth has exerted considerable effort to help students who were facing personal challenges. She is actively involved with students in various ways and has an 'open-door' approach to students."

Marrs received her bachelor's degree, master's degree and doctorate at MU.