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University of Missouri

At Ease

Chancellor Brady J. Deaton’s retirement prompts a look back.

Todd McCubbin, M Ed ’95

Todd McCubbin, M Ed ’95. Photo by Rob Hill.

I was nervous that day back in 2004. Although I felt confident about interviewing for the job of executive director of the Mizzou Alumni Association, this would be a one‐on‐one session with then‐new Chancellor Brady J. Deaton. Both of us had worked at MU for several years, but our paths had seldom crossed.

I sat on the edge of my seat, hoping I’d have the right answers. But when the first question came, I was shocked. “So, Todd, I see here you played basketball in college. What position did you play?” That’s right, we spent the first 15 minutes of the interview talking hoops! Chancellor Deaton grew up in Kentucky and loves to play. I had no idea.

We soon moved on to the more pertinent issues of alumni relations work, but I’ll never forget how he made me feel comfortable from the start.

Since that day, I have seen Deaton repeat this practice hundreds of times with others. And now that he is set to retire in November, I’m reflecting on the many marks he has left on our university: enrollment growth; record alumni support; the move to the SEC; and steady, measured leadership, to name a few.

But the qualities I admire most in Deaton are his ability to relate to almost anyone and his committed approach to building the Mizzou family. The same holds true for his wife, Anne. Here in our alumni magazine, I want to thank them publicly for making a difference at MU.