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University of Missouri

A Look Back

Brady J. Deaton retires as chancellor after nine years.

Brady J. Deaton

Nov. 15, 2013 was Brady J. Deaton’s last day as chancellor. Beyond November, he and wife Anne will lead the Brady and Anne Deaton Institute for University Leadership in International Development. Photo by Nicholas Benner.

Rising as he did from a family of modest economic means in rural Kentucky through public schools and universities, it’s hard to imagine a person better fitted to the work Brady J. Deaton has done since arriving at MU. By 1989, when he was hired to lead the agricultural economics department, he already was a researcher with international experience. He since grew into campuswide positions — provost, chancellor — that have set the university’s course. Considering how much Deaton benefitted from public education, some of his proudest accomplishments as a campus leader look like a page out of a pay-it-forward handbook. Here, in his own words, are a handful of highlights from Deaton’s tenure:


University of Missouri Leadership Timeline

John Hiram Lathrop

James Shannon

William W. Hudson

Benjamin B. Minor

John Hiram Lathrop

Daniel Read

Samuel Spahr Laws

Richard Henry Jesse

A. Ross Hill

John Carleton Jones

Stratton D. Brooks

Walter Williams

Frederick Middlebush

Elmer Ellis

John W. Schwada

Herbert W. Schooling

Barbara S. Uehling

Haskell M. Monroe

Charles A. Kiesler

Richard L. Wallace

Brady J. Deaton

Larger and More Diverse Student Body

We’ve been able to attract one of the most diverse student bodies we have ever had,” Deaton says. “These are top-quality students of varied socioeconomic and ethnic origin. And they come from every state and an international reach of 120 countries. That gives us strength across undergraduate, graduate and professional programs.”

More Research and Sophisticated Teaching

Teaching and research are at the core of our flagship university,” Deaton says. “We have a responsibility not only to develop cutting-edge knowledge that benefits everyone but also to prepare students to thrive as citizens in our society. Melding the two — getting undergraduates into research labs — is a hallmark for MU.”

Constructing a Beautiful Learning Environment

The history of our buildings and beauty of the landscape are more than just points of pride,” Deaton says. “Those places nurture and inspire students and faculty alike to think creatively. As a result of a thoughtful master-planning process, this beautiful campus has been made even more beautiful and a more effective learning environment over the past nine years.”

Counteracting Shrinking Governmental Support

We’ve had to offset lagging state support by enlisting alumni and donors to help us build excellence, and we’ve had to increase tuition,” Deaton says. “However, we don’t want a family’s finances to be an impediment in their student succeeding here. We successfully completed the For All We Call Mizzou campaign, which raised more than a billion dollars for scholarships, faculty and facilities. Now we’re planning a second campaign that will focus on endowed scholarships, professorships and chairs to strengthen the faculty at MU. Early markers represent real success in that regard.”

Alumni Join In

It’s heartening to see the growth in our Mizzou Alumni Association chapters around the world. And when we joined the Southeastern Conference, we saw a growth spurt in new chapters in that region,” Deaton says. “This alumni support infuses us with a sense of spirit about what’s happening at Mizzou. So, faced with less than the best financial news from the state, the faculty and students have been buoyed up by alumni coming forward and saying we want to support the quality of this university, and we’re willing to give money, time and organizational effort to make that possible.”

What’s Next

In post-chancellor life, Deaton will continue to serve as chair of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development, to which President Barack Obama appointed him. And he will lead the Brady and Anne Deaton Institute for University Leadership in International Development, which will focus on universities’ evolving roles in global food security, public health and sustainability.